Meeting with Father Fuller of St. Hilda’s Church and Mission to Seafarers Centre

October 14, 2013

IMG_7396-1Emma recently met with Father Chris Fuller, the Vicar of St Hilda’s Church and the Chaplain of the Mission to Seafarers Centre.

Emma spoke to Father Fuller about local issues and was taken on a tour of the two buildings. She heard about the important work the centres do for the community in South Shields and saw a model of the lifeboat invented by her ancestor, William Wouldhave, which takes pride of place hanging from the ceiling of St Hilda’s Church. The church is also the final resting place of the local hero.

St Hilda’s Church is thought to have stemmed from a chapel founded there by St Aidan in around 647AD, although others believe its roots to come from an abbey started by St Hilda.  Whatever its origins, it has long been at the centre of the community in South Shields with its motto ‘A church at the heart of the community with the community at its heart’ .

The Mission to Seafarers Centre is part of a national organisation that cares for members of the public who face danger from being out to sea, such as piracy or shipwrecks. They also provide support to those who are separated from loved ones and work in over 260 ports across the United Kingdom.

Emma said:

“St Hilda’s Church has long been at the centre of our community in Shields and Father Fuller is certainly continuing to keep this tradition alive.

“Due to the continued onslaught of government cuts there is increasing demand upon support services, our vulnerable people are being left with nowhere to go for help.  Father Fuller is very much engaged in our whole community and is working hard to ensure the most vulnerable in Shields are supported offering advice, a kind ear and signposting when needed.”

Father Chris Fuller said:

“I am delighted that Emma has accepted my invitation to come and see what is going-on in and around St Hilda’s and the town centre. We are in a unique position as the Church of England of having a presence in every community and that was never truer than here in South Shields. As well as being the Vicar of St Hilda’s, I am also the Town Centre Chaplain and Chaplain to the Mission to Seafarers and that gives me an additional perspective on the things that affect the lives of the people of South Shields.

“Like every other town, South Shields has its issues. At St Hilda’s we have very real issues such as poverty, alcoholism and other forms of social hardship on our doorstep and I very much hope that this visit will signal the start of a new phase relationships between the Church and policy makers in the region.”

For further information about the Misson to Seafarers, please click here.

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