April Newsletter

Unfortunately because of the coronavirus crisis all planned events have been cancelled.

Sadly we’ll be losing Singing for the Brain after 30th March due to a decline in numbers. It’s been a very successful group which was greatly enjoyed by its participants. We’re very sorry to see its demise.

We’ve been advertising over the last few weeks for people to join our little army of volunteers. Help is particularly needed with the Friday/Saturday Stall, the Friday Coffee Morning, the Thursday Lunch Club and the Make Lunch (for schoolchildren and their families) team. Personal appeals have been made to the members of the Craft Group and the W.I. If you or anyone you know can spare a few hours each month to help please contact the Office or a member of the Management Committee.

Recently there have been several tragic reports in the news about young people taking their own lives after being attacked, sometimes very cruelly, on social media. After one high profile case involving a young TV presenter, a media campaign to ‘BE KIND’ was launched. It’s a very sad reflection on our society that people need to be asked to be kind. Sometimes, in our dealings with people, although we wouldn’t dream of being unkind, we tend to be passive and not bother to ‘be kind’. Our Church and Cornerstones could not function without our little army of volunteers who are willing to dedicate their time and efforts to the many tasks which enable our Church and Cornerstones to operate so well, such as those who prepare rotas, make coffee, serve on committees, act as vestry stewards and all the many other roles that are undertaken on our behalf. All our volunteers are freely doing their jobs to the best of their ability. As we journey through Lent and experience yet again the wonder of Christ’s resurrection and the reality of God’s love and forgiveness for all those who have faith in Him, perhaps we can all make a conscious effort to actually express our appreciation and support to our wonderful volunteers.

Jean Dobson

March Newsletter

On Monday, 2nd March from 9.30am – 4.0pm there’ll be a Food Safety Course. The course is free for anyone who’s 19+ and not working. Details are available from the office. The Book Sale will be held on Saturday, 14th March from 9.0am – 12 noon. Also on sale will be CDs, DVDs, jigsaws and nearly new toys. Refreshments will be available.

It seems, from talking to people recently about Cornerstones, that many of our members have very little idea of what the Management Committee actually does. This Committee is very different to any other Church committee as it is, in effect, running a small business. The Committee works very hard on behalf of us all to ensure that Cornerstones does all it can to serve the community we live in. Their duties involve:
• monthly meetings, when planning and everything to do with Cornerstones is discussed and problems that have arisen are tackled.
• They must ensure that sufficient income is generated from room hire and grants to meet all financial commitments, including running costs and the salaries of 5 part-time staff. The annual turnover is currently over £100,000. Meticulous accounts have to be kept and detailed budgets and financial forecasts prepared – all very time-consuming work.
• They undertake the supervision of the staff, with all the red-tape that is involved, including staff contracts, regular staff reviews, and safeguarding policies etc.
• They also liaise with, and give as much support as possible to, the Cornerstones groups, giving advice and assistance where necessary and dealing with any crisis which may arise.
In addition, there’s an Outreach Group of the Management Committee, responsible for all outreach activities in the Church. They oversee the Children and Families Worker’s activities and they plan and organise events such as the Advent Calendars, the Christmas Tree Festival, the Community Services and the Cornerstones Calendar etc. At present they’re planning for the 10th Anniversary celebrations in October when the President of the Methodist Conference will be with us.
There’s also a Funding and Monitoring Group which makes applications for grants to grant-funding bodies to finance particular activities or expenses. These range from large grants, such as those from the National Lottery, to grants of only a few hundred pounds. Grants received must then be carefully monitored and regular reports sent to the donors.
The staff play an important part in Cornerstones. They carry out day to day admin. duties and development, deal with the public, and ensure that rooms are prepared for the groups using our premises. Senior staff report to, and attend, the Management Committee to keep members informed of the current situation and planned developments.
Being a member of the Management Committee is an onerous but very rewarding task. Some members have served for many years. From time to time a member has had to step down and others have stepped up to replace them. The work of the Committee goes mainly unsung and unnoticed but has resulted in the ongoing success of Cornerstones. One of the members, Denise Holmes, has recently left the Committee. Denise deserves a special mention as she served for 4 years as the very first Chairman of Cornerstones and has worked extremely hard ever since. Denise will continue to work with Lesley Walton on the catering side of Cornerstones events. We give her our very grateful thanks for all she has done.

We’re all getting used to writing 2020 as the date now. We’ve been used to ‘20/20’ meaning ‘perfect eyesight’ but it’s actual definition is ‘clarity of vision at a distance’. 2020 is the year when Cornerstones will celebrate 10 years of serving the community around us. If 20/20 means ‘clarity of vision at a distance’ then our 10th anniversary could be a good time to look back on the distance that we’ve come since the Church’s original vision of Cornerstones and to look with new clarity on that vision to see whether it could be improved and whether any new initiatives might be taken. If you have any ideas or thoughts on how Cornerstones might be even more relevant to the community, please share them with a member of the Management Committee.
There’s a quote attributed to Homer,
‘ I know not what the future holds, but I know who holds the future’.
From its launch, and in the years leading up to it, our Church has always sought God’s guidance for Cornerstones and we continue to place it in His hands as we journey into the future.

The members of the Cornerstones Management Committee are: Rev Liz Kent, Alan Smith, Robert Berry, Bob Dobson, Brian Fairless, Neil Garlick, Anthea Heel, Dorothy Hedley, Lesley Walton, Brenda Wood, Deb Divanis, Donna Garland
Members of the Outreach Group are: Rev. Liz Kent, Christine Smith, Robert Berry, Bob Dobson, Dorothy Carr, Anthea Heel, Dorothy Hedley, Gwyneth Indian, Brenda Wood, Deacon Linda Watkin, Deb Divanis
Members of the Funding and Monitoring Group are: Rev. Liz Kent, Bob Dobson, Lesley Walton, Deb Divanis


Vacancies for Volunteers at Cornerstones Centre for the Community/CLS Methodist Church

Do  you  have  a  few   hours  to  spare  on  a  regular  basis?

Would  you  like  to  join  our  little  army  of  Cornerstones volunteers?

If  so  we  have  vacancies  for  the following  posts: 


Helping to sell the enormous variety of bric-a-brac which is donated.  Duties include setting out the stall the previous day.  Please contact Joan Evans (tel:  0191 3881313) or email info@cornerstonescentre.co.uk 


Helping to cook and serve subsidised lunches.  These lunches are open to all the community.  Please contact Denise Holmes or Lesley Walton (tel:  0191 3881313) or email info@cornerstonescentre.co.uk 


Helping to make and serve teas and coffees.  The coffee mornings are open to all the community.  Please contact Denise Holmes or Lesley Walton (tel:  0191 3881313) or email info@cornerstonescentre.co.uk 


             Make Lunch is an hour of activities for families during school holidays, followed by a hot meal for families and volunteers to share together.  Volunteers could help prepare the meal, run activities for the children or chat to the adults.  Contact Neil Garlick (tel: 07855 386292) 

All these posts are as part of a friendly team working on a rota basis, usually once a month (except for the ‘Make Lunch’ team).  It’s an opportunity to meet people, make new friends and to be of service to the community we live among.

February Newsletter


Somewhat belatedly, the Management team wish a Happy New Year to all our readers.  Many of us have long since given up  making New Year resolutions as we all find them so difficult to keep.   However there’s a traditional Irish blessing which we might like to keep in mind as we face whatever may come along in 2020:-


Count your blessings instead of your crosses,    Count your gains instead of your losses.

Count your joys instead of your woes,    Count your friends instead of your foes.

Count your smiles instead of your tears,   Count your courage instead of your fears.

Count your full times instead of your lean,   Count your kind deeds instead of your mean.

Count your health instead of your wealth,   Love your neighbour as much as yourself.

Count on your God instead of yourself.


There’ll be a  Coffee Morning in aid of St Cuthbert’s Hospice on Tuesday, 4th February from 9.0 – 11.30am.  Please come along and support this worthy cause.   On Saturday, 8th February at 7.0pm, we have the popular annual James Etherington Musical Award 2020 Competition Final.  This is an opportunity to hear a number of young musicians compete for the prize of £400.  The concert usually lasts for 1 – 2 hours.  Entrance is free.  On Saturday, 15th February at 4.0pm there’ll be an  Afternoon Tea and Quiz.   More details can be found elsewhere in Contact.  On Monday, 17th February and Wednesday, 19th February from 11.0am – 12.30pm there’ll be two more sessions of Make Lunch, the school holiday activity club which provides fun and hot meals for needy families.  For more information contact Neil Garlick, the Children and Families Worker.  On Tuesday, 25th February, from 12.30-2.30pm, a new Beginners’ Computing Course will begin.  Contact the Office for more information.  On  Friday, 28th February, from 9.30am – 3.30pm, a Health and Safety Course will be held.  To be eligible for this free training you must be 19+ and not employed.  More information from the Office.


The year 2020 promises to be an exciting one for Cornerstones as, in October, we will be celebrating 10 years since its launch.  Plans are still at an early stage but it is hoped to have a weekend of celebration for this milestone.   Watch this space!!!   In 2010 our Church was full of enthusiasm for the new venture and hopeful for its future.  As we celebrate Cornerstones’ special anniversary year, let us all try to recapture some of that enthusiasm to ensure that Cornerstones will carry on into the future with its mission of service to the Community around us.

Jean  Dobson

Introduction to Beauty Therapy

This course will help students to identify beauty therapy procedures and operate the appropriate equipment. 

 Throughout the course students will be provided with instruction on how to develop and participate in session to achieve beauty therapy skills.

Coming Soon to : Cornerstones Centre , Chester le Street Methodist Church DH3 3TF 

Date : To be confirmed    How long:  5 weeks (2 hours) Cost: £35.00

FREE If you are 19+ and in receipt of certain benefits such as JSA, Universal Credit, Income Support, Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credit

Interested:  contact Deb ddivanis@cornerstonescentre.co.uk tel. 0191 3881313

Data Protection

Data Privacy notice

Please click on the above link to view our Data Privacy notice



Thank you to Allchurches

We are pleased to announce that the cost of improving disabled access to the Church has been supported by a grant of £1,150 from Allchurches Trust. Thanks to the Allchurches Trust grant, together with other support, we are now able to replace the hand rails on the outside ramp and install electronic doors to the building. It is hoped the work can be completed within the next few weeks.

Cornerstones – A Journey of Faith

A little booklet entitled  ‘CORNERSTONES  –  A  JOURNEY  OF  FAITH’  has been produced.  It tells the story of Cornerstones from its unlikely beginning because of a leaking roof to the thriving entity it is today.  It tells how the Church members worked very hard to raise the funds to build our beautiful suite of premises,  the official launch of Cornerstones in 2010, and how it has grown and developed over the years since.  If you’d like a free copy of this fascinating booklet, copies are available at the Church Office.

0191 3881313/info@cornerstonescentre.co.uk



In an initiative supported by J&M Sewing Service Ltd, by Appointment to HM The Queen, Manufacturers of Church and Choir Robes, Chester le Street Methodist Church are seeking to appoint an Organist, after the retirement of their long-time Organist due to ill-health.
The Organ in the Church is an impressive three manual ‘Allen’ ADC 6300 digital model. The Church, with a strong musical tradition, still has an active 30 strong SATB Choir – singing each Sunday evening and providing occasional concerts – rehearsing weekly.
We would be pleased to hear from any competent Organist who would be interested in taking up the position. An Honorarium (to cover reasonable expenses) can be negotiated. Please contact Stephen Wroe (Choirmaster) on 07722863680 or stephen.wroe1@btinternet.com or the Office on 0191 3881313 info@cornerstonescentre.co.uk

Did you know about CDFHS?

County Durham CDFHS has a brilliant furniture recycling scheme in Chilton. They will take away furniture in any condition including white goods – FREE of charge. They also have low cost affordable furniture for sale as well as paint, will do house clearances (FREE), clean full houses at a small charge, have a decorating service and gardening at a low cost and a handy man service at a low cost.

Contact Details: 01388 721509 or via website cdfhs.org.uk

We are supported by

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