Your new design will be uploaded in:
Please contact Delivery Team on
0113 3200 750 if you have any queries.

With One Voice

The Catholic Parishes of St Agnes’ Crawcrook, St Joseph’s Highfield and Our Lady of Lourdes Chopwell

Part of the Ovingham Parish Partnership in the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle


Father John James (Parish Priest)

Born in Jarrow, the eldest of 7 children (3 brothers, 3 sisters), Fr. James entered Junior Seminary at Ushaw College, Durham at the age of eleven in 1960.  Ordained to the priesthood in St. Mary's, Jarrow on 6th October 1973, his first appointment was as curate to Fr. John Loftus in St. Cuthbert's, North Shields. He subsequently moved as curate to St. Cuthbert's, Durham and as Chaplain to HM Prisons, Durham and St. Leonard's Comprehensive School. After 3 and a half years he succeeded his predecessor as Parish Priest and RC Chaplain to Durham University, also serving on the National Conference of Priests and University Chaplains' Standing Committees.  Upon leaving Durham, he was granted a 6 month sabbatical at Tantur Ecumenical Biblical Institute near Bethlehem.

On return to the diocese, he became Parish Priest of St. Peter's, Low Fell, later also of Annunciation Parish, Gateshead and RC Chaplain to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. While there, he was appointed Diocesan Director of Vocations, continuing in that role when appointed Parish Priest of SS. Peter & Paul, Tyne Dock, serving in the South Shields cluster of parishes.
He left there in February 2012 to become Parish Priest of St. Agnes Crawcrook, St. Joseph's Highfield, and Our Lady of Lourdes Chopwell, having relinquished his responsibility as Director of Vocations. Ad multos annos.


Rev. Christian Callan (Parish Deacon)

Born in Hexham, the eldest of 4 children (3 sisters) in 1972, Deacon Chris, attended St Agnes’s Primary School (Old School) Crawcrook, until the age of 11.  After that, he studied in preparation for his GCSEs, at St Thomas More School, Blaydon. After leaving school in the summer of 1990, with a number of GCSE’s and Advanced level qualifications, he attended South Tyneside College, where he successfully completed his Ordinary National Diploma in Science. After that, he went on to Salford University to read Chemistry. He achieved a Division 1 degree in Applied Chemistry with Analytical Chemistry, in the summer of 1995. However, unsure as to where to proceed from there, Deacon Chris went to Ushaw College in September 1995, to discern a possible vocation to the Priesthood. After three years of formation, he felt that his calling was drawn towards teaching, rather than the Priesthood. Deacon Chris left seminary in 1998, and attended the University of Northumbria at Newcastle, where he qualified as a Chemistry/Science teacher in secondary education, in 1999. Deacon Chris is still employed as a full-time teacher, and has had the privilege of working in a number of secondary schools across the North East of England, with over 15 years of teaching experience. He has taken on a number of different roles in education, such as Head of Year, Head of Chemistry, and Deputy Director of Key Stage 4.

In September 2008, and after much discernment, Deacon Chris entered his training/formation period, in preparation for Ordination to the Diaconate. After a period of four years of intense study and formation, Deacon Chris was Ordained to the Diaconate, on the 7th July 2012, by Bishop Seamus Cunningham, at St Joseph’s Church, Gateshead.  Deacon Chris was appointed to assist Fr John James and Deacon Derek, in the Parishes of St Joseph’s Highfield, Our Lady of Lourdes, Chopwell, and St Agnes’ Crawcrook in July 2012!


Rev. Derek Gallagher (Parish Deacon)