Continuing our series where we visit cities across Britain to discover what is happening on the Christian music scene; Mike Rimmer went back to his place of birth to bring us this report on Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

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Christine DePonio
Christine DePonio

Lifestyle Christian Books And Music
Location: 1 Chantry Place, Morpeth
Owner: Douglas MacFarlane
Facts: The shop has been operating for nearly five years and carries 1,750 music titles, the largest selection in the area. Big sellers are mainly praise and worship. YFriday, Hillsongs and Graham Kendrick's 'What Grace' have all sold very well. Concentrating on a personal service, the shop will even track down music for the customer and mail it.
About The Ministry: "Last week at IXth Hour, youngsters were challenged to buy a Bible and give it to YFC's prison ministry. Most bookshops would give a 10% discount but we're doing it at cost. I even wrote to 25 local church leaders challenging them to buy one for every Bible bought by people in their churches."

The Ocracy
Location: Unit 5, Mediterranean Village, Metro Centre, Gateshead
Owner: Jeni Paul
Facts: The Ocracy has been trading for eight years and crammed into its small space are hundreds of Bibles and books and 1,200 music titles. Biggest sellers are Tim Hughes, Robin Mark and Heart Of Worship.
About The Ministry: "We're in the biggest under cover shopping mall in Europe and I want to reach people who wouldn't normally go into a Christian bookshop. I've made the outside of the shop look new agey and we often get people coming in looking fortarot cards. We keep literature to give away to those customers and I know of at least six people who have become Christians and come out of the occult as a result of coming into the shop. We want to serve the local church with what we're doing. I also want to help young people by taking on volunteers, working them hard, training them well and preparing them for full time work. I want to try and break the job cycle where youngsters can't get work because they have no references by giving them work opportunities and providing a reference. I've seen 35 youngsters move on to paid employment."

Location: 8 Ridley Place, Newcastle
Owner: SPCK
Facts: Next year the shop will celebrate its 60th birthday. In keeping with the clientele, the shop carries around 200 titles which are mostly traditional, instrumental or Celtic. Biggest sellers are Keith Routledge's 'Piano Presence', Margaret Rizza's 'River Of Peace', The Source', 'WoW Worship' and Troy Donockley.
About The Ministry: Heather Place (manager): "We're hoping to widen our music into more modern styles like the WOW series or what you'd find at Greenbelt. We're starting to get younger people in and would like to change our profile. Over Christmas we sold more contemporary music."


Shiela Hamilton
Shiela Hamilton

God Digital
Location: Christian Channel Studios, Stonehills, Shields Road, Gateshead
Type Of Ministry: Christian television network
Facts: As documented in Cross Rhythms 62, GOD Digital, housed at its custom built studios in Gateshead, is spearheading a revolution in electronic media. Since its foundation by Rory and Wendy Alec when the Cornerstone Christian Centre in London asked them to set up a TV department, the company has gone from strength to strength. In October 1995 they established the first daily Christian TV station on satellite and cable for two hours a day. Today, it is a 24-hour-a-day service offering not only The God Channel with its powerful mix of Bible studies, magazine programmes, music programmes and -through its pioneering The Battle For Britain series - evangelistic programming directed specifically at the spiritual searcher; but also the Revival Channel with hours of teaching and preaching aimed at building up Christian faith. About The Ministry: Wendy Alec: "I believe that the battle that Christian media and the whole Church is not just for this present generation but for the generation that is to come as well. It is time for God's people and all of us who are involved in media to rise up as a united front and start to take back the airwaves. Then the next decade will see a new season and Christian broadcasting will become mainstream and will become a voice to be reckoned with in this nation. Then we will truly have an influence that will impact the nation and be a force that cannot be stopped." CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.