The Bishop of Durham The Right Revd Paul Butler has been taking part in a series of chat shows with a difference to help bring the good news to life for people and confront some tough social issues.
Bishop Paul and special guests and Footprints Theatre Company staged a series of mini ‘soap’ dramas at Sunderland Minster, taking a different theme on each of five days, the final one of which was held on Saturday (January 31).
The events, called The Gap, explored Food, Image, Money, Life & Death, Relationships and each one saw Bishop Paul and guests taking part in debates about some of the key issues facing the church and the wider society, supported by drama and music.
Bishop Paul said that the idea was to create a relaxed setting in which people felt confident to ask tough questions and air their opinions.
He said that even though he had not agreed with everything that was said, it was important that such issues be aired.
The Bishop said that there had been some tough questions, including on faith and conflict, money, assisted suicide and food banks.
He said: “The level of questioning has been quite intense. People have said that they felt they could ask me a question when they might not do so after a service.
“Creating a setting where people can ask those difficult questions has helped. The idea was to get people thinking. They have asked some tough questions throughout the week.”
Footprints Artistic Director Steve Stickley said: “We wanted to create a platform that was meaningful and entertaining and would grab people and give them the opportunity to fire questions at the Bishop.”
Small video snippets posted by Footprints Theatre Trust can be viewed on YouTube by searching for ‘The Gap # Sunderland Minster’ replacing # with 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 for the five performances. The first one is here: