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Diocese of Durham
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Bishop tackles tough questions on chat show

by Tola Mbakwe

So far "The Gap" has explored issues of food, identity, money, life and death.

Held at St Nicholas Church in Durham Market Place, each evening began with drama and song, then Bishop Paul and other guests took part in a debate around key issues.

He explained the idea of "The Gap" is to have a relaxed atmosphere where people feel confident to ask tough questions and voice their opinions, despite others having opposing views.

Before the start of the first evening's show Bishop Paul said: "We want to engage people in thinking about the Christian faith, areas of life and living and show how the Christian faith is relevant.

"That is why we are tackling subjects such as food and money, so we try to help people see that the Christian faith is about all of life."

The Diocese of Durham said the event was in partnership with Footprints Theatre Company which gave the show a "soap opera" feel.

Bishop Paul said:  "There are several twists along the way, each night it's different and only comes to light as people watch the themed soap area unfold.

"The other twist is that the audience supplies all of the questions that we discuss via the audience in the show, via Twitter and via text.

"We don't know what the questions are going to be so we respond to people and sometimes those questions can be quite challenging."

The first show was about food and featured the founders of an anti-food waste charity, RefUSE Durham.

The soap opera section of the show opened up questions about faith, food, poverty, celebration, feast and deeper questions on indulgence and waste.

During the second half, the audience quizzed the panel on a range of food-related questions.

The questions addressed the moral role of TV celebrity chefs in the food waste debate as well as body image, food poverty and the role of the Christian faith in the overall debate.

The last show of the series starts at 7.30pm on Saturday. The theme will be relationships with Martin and Mel Stand, youth workers and school chaplains in Darlington Area Churches Youth Ministry.

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