St Paul's Church, Whitley Bay

Coordinates: 55°2′30.05″N 1°26′52.11″W / 55.0416806°N 1.4478083°W / 55.0416806; -1.4478083

St Paul's Church is the parish church of Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, United Kingdom. The church was founded in 1864. Strictly speaking, the church's official title is 'St Paul's Church, Cullercoats', however because it is in the town of Whitley Bay it is more commonly known as the latter.


Father Gavin Gilchrist of Hull is the resident priest, Father Alex Faludy of Portsmouth is the curate. Sandra Graham and Pam MacKenzie are the Churchwardens. There is also a Parochial Church Council, Choir, music group, a newsletter and parish magazine. A Summer fair is held annually, as is the St Nicholas fair and festival during the first weekend in Advent. The Sunday Club meets every Sunday morning during the 10am mass and is suitable for babies upwards.

Parochial Church Council

The Parochial Church Council (or PCC), looks after the general running of the Church and overlook the finances. The membership is made up of a council of 22 members; 2 Clergy, 1 Lay Reader, 2 Churchwardens, 1 Treasurer, 1 Diocesan Synod Representative (who attends meetings with others from the Diocese of Newcastle and Tynemouth Deanery), 3 Deanery Synod Representatives (who attend meetings with others from the Tynemouth Deanery) and 12 Lay Members. All members except the Clergy and Lay Reader must go through a nominated election before they can stand. There is also a Standing Committee, made up of 5 members of the PCC, which deals with emergency issues that arise between meetings. They also set the agenda for the following PCC meeting. The PCC meets once a month.

Members: Father Gavin Gilchrist - Chairman , Father Alex Faludy , Stan Edwards , Sandra Graham , Pam MacKenzie , Lillian Martin , Jill Eltringham , Pat Hylton , Gerald Lang , Nick Graham, Chris Heptonstall, Shirley Heptonstall, Lesley Lang, Nicola McIntyre, Joanne Rose, Kath Shepherd, Margaret Stokes, Bill Temple, Celia Temple & Jean Wood

Music at St Paul's

The music at St Paul's is quite phenomenal, judging that the 15-strong choir is unpaid and almost all of the musicians play for free. The director of music is Dr Terry Mason, who is also the organist at the church. The deputy organist is June Gibbon. The organ scholar is Nick Graham. The choir conductor is Celia Temple, who also plays guitar in the church music group along with Ann Laing who plays keyboard instruments, and several students; Sarah Collin (flute).

A former organist, John Percival Forster, was killed in the Battle of the Somme on July 1 1916. He was aged 28 at the time. He was organist at St Paul's for 6 years between 1912 and 1916 and there is a commemorative plaque to the right of the altar.

St Nicholas Festival

The church is well known in the region as the starting point of the annual St Nicholas Festival in December. It was started by the then Vicar, Reverend Norman Aidan Banks.

Vicars of St Paul's

Canon R.F Wheeler 1861 - 1885

Reverend E. Smith 1885 - 1916

Reverend F.L Cattell 1916 - 1924

Reverend F.J Burt 1924 - 1928

Reverend F.M Dowland 1928 - 1933

Reverend J.E Jenkins 1933 - 1941

Reverend F.R Hedley 1941 - 1955

Reverend R.H.C Henwood 1955 - 1963

Reverend J.H Chicken 1963 - 1972

Reverend R.O Stroud 1972 - 1977

Reverend P.V Rendell 1977 - 1989

Reverend N.A Banks 1990 - 2002

Reverend G. Gilchrist 2002 - present