November & December 2023 – Before planning your visit, please check our ‘Visitor Notices’ for accessibility updates and one-off changes to opening times. Click here to view.
A BEACON OF LIGHT
The Lantern Initiative
For centuries, Newcastle Cathedral’s Lantern Tower was a beacon of light, helping ships navigate their way safely along the River Tyne. Today, the Cathedral’s Lantern Initiative seeks to be a beacon of hope for people traversing dark or difficult circumstances in life, creating and fostering spaces of belonging.
The Revd Jon Canessa, Lantern Initiative Lead, writes…
The Lantern Initiative aspires to reframe who a Cathedral is for. As a unique place of worship and historical significance, its function, sanctuary and beauty are a gift to everyone. One of the Cathedral’s values, Radical Welcome, recognises that a passive “all are welcome” invitation is not enough.
Radical Welcome looks around to see who is not here and asks why, compelling us to go out into the wider city to make meaningful relationships and partnerships.
The Lantern Initiative walks in solidarity with those individuals and groups that have been judged or oppressed by wider society, often as a direct consequence of Church persecution. Radical Welcome recognises that creating spaces of belonging with people will mean some inherited ways of doing things will need to be challenged and transformed.
Image: Revd Jon Canessa with the Very Revd Lee Batson, Dean of Newcastle.
A unique ‘Story Chair’ and accompanying toolkit was the outcome of a series of workshops for women with experience of the criminal justice system. The Lantern Initiative and Cathedral played a key role in the project, a collaboration with Changing Lives and Northumbria University.
‘Recovery Church’ is for people in recovery from a variety of addictions, including chronic drug and alcohol addiction. Weekly sessions take place on Wednesday evenings in central Newcastle and on Sundays via Zoom. People of all faiths and none are welcomed.
Lantern Initiative archive
Hidden Stories exhibition
A collective of women involved with Changing Lives created artwork responding to imagery connected to their experience of gender identity and motherhood.
This video recording from the National Cathedrals Conference 2022 includes a presentation by Jon about the Lantern Initiative and the ‘Radical Welcome’ training offered to volunteers.