Archbishop to share Thought with R4

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby succeeded Rowan Williams in February

The new Archbishop of Canterbury will offer his first Thought for the Day on Good Friday.

Justin Welby will follow in the footsteps of predecessor Rowan Williams, who was archbishop for a decade, in contributing to the slot on Radio 4's Today programme that reflects topical issues from a faith perspective.

Williams considered gun crime and gun control in his final Thought for the Day as head of the Church of England in December, just days before he stepped down from the role.

The new archbishop's reflections are at the heart of the BBC's Easter programming, which will also include coverage of the new Pope's Easter message and blessing to the world.

Urbi et Orbi will be shown live on BBC One from St Peter's Square in Rome, with Pope Benedict's successor leading the Catholic worship.

Radio 4's audience, meanwhile, can catch the last Easter address in the role by the Bishop of Liverpool James Jones as the Easter Eucharist comes live from Liverpool Cathedral.

'Easter is the cornerstone of Christianity and the programmes across the BBC reflect the beauty and mystery of the season through sacred music, reflection, live worship and documentaries,' said Aaqil Ahmed, commissioning editor & head of religion & ethics

Mary Magdalene

On BBC One, Melvyn Bragg will explore one of the Bible's most controversial figures.

Good Friday's The Mystery of Mary Magdalene will look at why the woman who plays such a key part in the Easter story is primarily remembered as a prostitute who Christ redeems.

The channel also asks why Christianity is good for a laugh. Ann Widdecombe examines the tradition of making light of the religion with reference to everything from Life of Brian to Vicar of Dibley.

Radio 2 tells the Easter story with the help of Handel's Messiah on Good Friday, while Radio 3's Choral Evensong comes live from Manchester Cathedral on Easter Day.


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