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  1. ITV Report

"Let us live up to our reputation for welcome and friendliness to all"

The Bishop on a visit to Tanfield Railway in Co Durham Photo: Keith Blundy

The Bishop of Durham Paul Butler reflects on the events of 2015 and his hopes for the coming year in his Christmas sermon.

The main message of the sermon concerns the plight of refugees, who have featured heavily in newspapers and television reports throughout the year.

Bishop Paul gets out and about on his Prayer Walks in Durham City in 2015 Credit: Keith Blundy

The Bishop compares the situation of today's refugees across the Middle East and elsewhere to that of Mary and Joseph. They were, he says, ancient refugees forced to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem by the Roman empire late in Mary's pregnancy. Shortly after the birth they are forced to flee again - to Egypt as refugees from the murderous King Herod.

The Bishop then goes on to note Britain's proud record of welcoming refugees, and says: "open doors and warm welcome are the proper responses" to people asking for help. He asks the people of the North East to "let us live up to our reputation for welcome and friendliness to all."

And as to what the Bishop is looking forward to in 2016: the Olympics in Rio, and a good English performance at the Euros!