Gateway Church Northumberland began on April 1st 2013 when six people (four to be regulars and two visitors) gathered in the home of Joss and Gill Bray. Beginning with Sunday lunch and then worshipping and praying together, this was the start of something that God had laid on Joss and Gill’s heart in 2006.
In the spring of 2006, Joss and Gill joined a church in SE Northumberland which had a vision of planting multiple churches across the county. Gill was part of the leadership team of the Kidz Klub that was started in the village of Shilbottle in April 2007, which grew to be a positive part of the community over the next five years.
Joss and Gill and their family moved to the North of the county in the summer of 2007 and they eventually became the leaders of the home group meeting in the area. This group had a vision to plant a church in the north of the county, and as the group grew, a public monthly Sunday afternoon meeting began in Shilbottle, where people could gather to worship God and pray.
By Christmas 2011, it was becoming clear that the church could not resource the work in two areas, and by Easter 2012 all the work was stopped in the north of the county. Joss and Gill still carried a vision for the area, and spent the next year praying about what God wanted them to do and where. They also talked and prayed with a number of people from the church, Newfrontiers and other Christian friends. It became clear that the way forward was to begin a new work in the north.
As the elders of the current church didn’t feel they could support this, Jeremy Simpkins of the Christ Central family of churches was approached for guidance. He said he would support Joss and Gill starting something new and be their oversight. So, on April 1st 2013, Gateway Church Northumberland began with the vision to “Love God, Love Each Other, Serve the Community”.
The church was founded on several prophetic words given over the previous few years including:
A picture of sheep in a field but drawn to one corner where the grass is greener – this is where the living water is.
A picture of people coming in ones and twos off the hillsides down to the valley where the river of living water is.
A picture of farmer’s field needing to be cleared of rocks before it is properly planted – i.e. preparing the ground.
The small group of four were encouraged by these and they began to see them fulfilled as over the next year, more people were added in ones and twos.
By the summer of 2014, the number regularly gathering was 20+ and the church was outgrowing Joss and Gill’s home. The decision was made to move the church to the local Community Hall with the determination that the main elements of the Sunday meetings (eating together, worshipping and praying together, the interactive nature of the meetings) would not be lost.
Gateway Church Northumberland began meeting in the Hall on October 5th 2014. Lunch was prepared at the Hall and was still a vital part of the day. The worship, prayer and interactive talks transferred well. The public nature of the building meant that we were now more visible and several people joined us due to this.
In September 2015 changes were made to the leadership team. Joss was joined by Dave Harbertson and Mark Van Schalkwyk creating a leadership team of three. The church was registered with the Charity Commission as a CIO with four trustees during 2015 with a clear distinction between the leaders and the trustees’ roles being made.
The church is now becoming established in the community. We have a weekly badminton session, help out at the Community Hall in a variety of ways and have launched “The Hub”, offering a variety of support to members of the community including running a weekly Drop In with free internet access at the Community Hall.
Gateway Church Northumberland is a group of people from a wide variety of backgrounds who represent several nations, support each other, look to serve the communities in which they live and continue to seek God’s direction. We may be “small in number, but we are strong in faith”!
Gateway Church Northumberland is supported by the ChristCentral family of churches which is part of Newfrontiers.