Our roots begin with our planting church, Durham Presbyterian Church (DPC), which is an outgrowth of the historic Reformed faith as it took form under Dr D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981). Dr Lloyd-Jones was himself born into, and later ordained by, the Presbyterian Church of Wales and was heavily influenced by the writings of the Puritans and related figures such as Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758). Lloyd-Jones mentored the young Brian Norton at Westminster Chapel in London, and his associates such as Banner of Truth founder Iain H. Murray provided encouragement for the establishment of DPC in the 1980s. DPC became one of the five charter members of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in England and Wales (EPCEW).
A new church in Gateshead
By the early 2000s, Rev Norton and the saints at DPC were praying expectantly for the opportunity to plant a church in Gateshead. The elders determined to begin an exploratory Bible study to that purpose in the summer of 2007. The initial group consisted of elder Jonathan Winch with his family, members Alun Lewis and Tracey Holding, and former member Bill Schweitzer and his family (who were at that time living in Edinburgh). Over the next year the Lord steadily grew the Bible study, and in March 2008 the Schweitzer family moved to Gateshead. Upon the completion of his support raising through Mission to the World and his ordination in the Presbyterian Church in America (with parallel licence in the EPCEW), Dr Schweitzer was installed as the church planting minister of the work in January 2009.
Growth in Gateshead and beyond
Gateshead Presbyterian Church (GPC) began public worship services on 9 February, 2009. GPC soon joined with DPC in helping Dr Kevin Bidwell begin a Bible study in 2010 that would later become Sheffield Presbyterian Church (formally constituted as a mission’s work in 2011). Three deacons, Mr Kevin Hilton, Dr Chris Richards and Mr Sam Webster, were ordained on 4 September, 2011. Mr. Benjamin Wontrop joined us to work as a half-time ministerial assistant in 2012. GPTS-UK, a small-scale seminary campus in partnership with Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, began in September, 2013. GPC was officially recognised as a particular congregation of the EPCEW on 29 November, 2014. After nearly two years of Bible study meetings, a service to mark the start of Hexham Presbyterian Church under church planting minister Rev Josh Rieger was held 1 February, 2015. We look to the Lord to continue building His church in this land, and, in particular, that GPC would be made a pillar to bear a sizeable portion of the weight of church planting in the North East.