A BISHOP is preparing to say a final farewell to parishioners after 11 years in his role.

The Rt Revd Mark Bryant, Bishop of Jarrow, is set to retire from the Durham Diocese on October 7.

Several services have been held at Durham Cathedral to say goodbye to Bishop Bryant.

He said: “I want […] to express my thanks and admiration to the clergy and people of this diocese for all that you do to engage in that task of raising people up, by proclaiming liberty to captives and the recovery of sight to the blind.

“I want to thank you for your faithfulness and your kindness to me. I know that at times it can be tougher than probably your Bishops understand. I know that there are times when you wonder whether it is worthwhile or whether what you are doing is really wanted anymore, and I am aware that, for many of you, the pressures on you grow ever greater by the day, but can I, as I wander off into the sunset, encourage you just to stick with it, so that, through the lives of the Christian communities in this diocese, good news may continue to be preached and that people may be raised up to sit with princes and to receive a seat of honour.”

The Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, said: “Bishop Mark has been a great servant to the Diocese and the region over these last eleven years and I want to personally thank him on behalf of the whole Diocese for everything he has done, for the energies he has brought to being Bishop of Jarrow and to his ministry here in the North East.”