About our church

The Church of England serves the parish of Barnard Castle with Whorlton through two churches.

Our church is more than a building, these are the things that matter to us as a community:

Our role

We are Christians who have inherited a long tradition of serving the communities in which we are set. Whilst we are proud of the past we are not afraid of change and, as Christian disciples, we actively seek to discern God’s preferred and promised future for us in this place.

We express our faith through our worship, welcome, service and hospitality.

Our mission: Celebrating God's Love

Our mission is summed up in the phrase ‘Celebrating God’s Love’

We aim to do this by:

  1. Working in partnership with those who bring life to the community.
  2. Celebrating God’s gifts in His creation, His children and His work in this place.
  3. Creating space, time and opportunities for people of all ages to grow in faith and worship.

Our current aims (2023-24)

This year (2023-24) we are focusing on:

1. Growing our work with Children and young people and connecting church, schools and families together: We are working with neighbouring parishes towards creating a Mission Hub with this at its core and to attract more support and resource.
2. Healing and wholeness: Members of the congregation are playing key roles as Trustees of the new Parish Nursing project which supports those struggling with their mental health, loneliness and isolation.
We will continue to offer regular opportunities for the ministry of healing in services.
3. Offering ‘Living water’ through our worship and common life so we might grow:
We are renewing our monthly informal Celebrate services: we have recruited more members to our Praise Band; we have trained 3 members of the congregation to lead services of the Word.
We have planned a series of Bible studies to take place before and after the summer holidays

Worship and services

St. Mary’s is open for private prayer each weekday from 10.00am – 4.00pm. (These arrangements are subject to change in the event of a funeral in church)

Our current service pattern is:

  • 8.30am Holy Communion Book of Common Prayer service
  • 10.30am: Holy Communion

We take care to ensure that our worship is accessible, is the best we can offer and conducted both with reverence and a light touch.


We have a long involvement with local schools, most especially with our Church School (Green Lane CE Primary School) where Core Christian values, regular Collective Worship and ‘The Big Story’ underpin the life of the school community. Members of the congregation serve as School Governors, offer educational support in the school, lead ‘The Big Story’ with classes and assist with ‘Prayer Stations’.

Pastoral care and Life Events

Baptisms, weddings and funerals take place regularly in our churches. Please feel free to enquire about these services . We serve young parents through our toddler group (Smuffies) and older folk through regular services in the town’s care homes.

We have recently become aware that there are many lone person households in the town and are developing partnerships to support those who may be isolated or vulnerable.


Music matters to us! A robed church choir sings regularly at services but in recent years we have developed a Community Choir and Community Band made up of people who like to make music and enjoy company. There are no auditions for the choir and all you need for the band is an ability to bow or blow five notes!


Our churches hold the collective memories of our communities, none more so than St. Mary’s Barnard Castle. Our partnership with DigVentures (a local archaeological company) has offered us new ways of sharing the history of the faith community here and stories from the town’s history.