Bedlington powerless? Never!

On Sunday 17th May, we did German philosophy and sorted out our home town, instead of a sermon!

The previous week, the young people had talked about Bedlington, its history and what they liked about it, what they didn’t like, what was good, what needed improvement. They presented their ideas in words and pictures – the history, the individuals, the environment, the groups that go to make the town as it is today. This ‘set the scene’.

We heard from the Bible: John 15, 1 – 17, where Jesus tells his disciples that he wants them to ‘bear fruit’, and to do so they must a) abide in him and b) love one another; and John 20, 11 – 18 – the story of Mary Magdalene at the tomb of Jesus, saying to the angels ‘they have taken my Lord away and I don’t know where they have laid him’ and then meeting the risen Jesus.

Peter read us an extract from an article in Reform, an Easter sermon by Lance Stone: “The German philosopher, Martin Heidegger was concerned with ‘authentic existence’ – life that is full and lived in a responsible and fulfilled way. For Heidegger, there is an enemy to authentic living, and it’s what he calls the ‘they’. The ‘they’ represent the faceless, impersonal powers at work in the world dictating and constraining human life and robbing us of initiative and decision.” For example: ‘they’ should do something about . . . .’ which means we don’t have to and anyway we feel powerless. As Mary felt on Easter morning – ‘they’ had arrested Jesus, put him on trial, turned the crowd against him, crucified him and now they had taken his body. But then she recognised the risen Jesus and the ‘they’ turned into ‘I have seen the Lord!’ She was no longer powerless, in thrall to ‘them’.

The congregation were given four questions:

  1. Of all that’s good about Bedlington, what’s the best?
  2. Of all that needs improving in Bedlington, what one thing is most important?
  3. Who is the ‘them’ who is stopping that important improvement from happening?
  4. Jesus wants us to ‘bear fruit’, John says if we love God and one another, we can ‘overcome the world’. What can we do to change things, to overcome ‘them’?

Here are the answers the congregation gave:



Question 1: Of all that’s good about Bedlington, what’s the best?

The people                                                                              (10)

Community spirit                                                                    (5)

The Front Street approaches, and the flowers                       (5)

Near to beaches and countryside                                           (2)

Good bus routes                                                                      (2)


The history and community

A safe place to live

Traditional beauty

Open spaces and Humford Woods


Question 2: Of all that needs improving in Bedlington, what one thing is most important?

Shops need improvement                                                       (10)

An integrated physical activity plan

Improved and affordable transport links


Leisure centre

Bringing people together

Improve look of Front Street

Get empty buildings used

Facilities for young people


Question 3: Who is the ‘them’ who is stopping that important improvement from happening?

Government (and departments working together)                (3)

Local Council                                                                           (8)

Parish Council

High-ups, ‘big bugs’, powers-that-be, people-in-authority    (4)

Lack of funds for local government

Large companies that aren’t local

People shopping elsewhere and not supporting local            (2)

Us/the community/people of the town                                  (4)


The Bedlington Forum – has ideas but needs more money

And remember – the Lord is with you at all times


Question 4: What can we do to change things, to overcome ‘them’ and bear fruit?

Work to meet needs (eg old, young, disabled) and help/care for one another                                            – eg Matthew Project                                 (7)

Love our neighbours                                                   (3)

Be open, out-going and out-reaching                         (3)

Encourage people                                                       (3)

Be honest

Work together on joint initiatives                              (4)

Prayer for change                                                       (5)

Speak and write to people/councillors                       (3)

Support the shops that are here                                 (3)

Get involved                                                                (3)

Start a media campaign

Encourage new businesses to come

Make time for each other

Educate people

Social events to build community

Go to the Forum meetings

Live by Jesus’s example

Get elected/be part of/change ‘them’                       (4)

Get involved as the church/churches together          (2)

Plan for improvement

Allow/encourage children to know the Lord              (2)

Channel ‘Make a Noise’ to fundraising for Forum ideas

And remember – I can play a role!