The gospel according to Coronation Street

Church-goers across the region will be kept up to date with the latest happenings in the TV soaps when the new Bishop of Jarrow takes to the pulpit.

Church-goers across the region will be kept up to date with the latest happenings in the TV soaps when the new Bishop of Jarrow takes to the pulpit.

For Canon Mark Bryant, presently Archdeacon of Coventry, but soon to be Suffragan Bishop of Jarrow and assistant to the Bishop of Durham, is a keen follower of EastEnders and Coronation Street.

The 57-year-old father of three grown-up children, explained: "When millions of people watch these programmes and talk about their story lines at work or at school then they do become relevant to today's society.

"Some of the story lines can be used in the teaching of the Church."

Archdeacon Mark met his wife, Elisabeth, when he was a student at Durham University.

After 19 years in Coventry, and having been a minister in Wiltshire before that, Archdeacon Mark returns to the North-East for the first time in 30 years.

But he said: "I have already been impressed by how many people here genuinely want to help, and are involved in their communities.

"I also remember, as a student, ministering in South Hetton, County Durham. It was a very hospitable place."

Bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev Tom Wright, said: "Mark will join a happy and hard-working senior leadership team in the Diocese, and I very much look forward to sharing ministry with him.

"He has a special gift for teaching God's word, and preaching the gospel, in "unchurchy" language. He is an expert on soap operas and is skilled at making connections between the great biblical stories and the stories of popular culture such as Coronation Street or Eastenders, and relating them to key issues facing people today."

It is likely he will be consecrated as bishop by Archbishop Sentamu in York Minster on September 13 and welcomed to Durham in a special service in the Cathedral on Sunday September 16 at 3.30pm.

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