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Posts Tagged "‘Tears in the Dark’":

“Beyond The Collar – Confessions of a Vicar” by Mark Edwards


The Revd Mark Anthony Edwards is the Team Vicar at the churches of St Cuthbert’s and St Matthews in the benefice of  Christ the King in the Diocese of Newcastle, where he has served since 2008. He lives in the vicarage of St Matthew’s in Dinnington.

This is the outer layer of the onion. Peel it off, and you will find beneath the story of his time as an Anglican priest. He studied for the priesthood at Cranmer Hall, Durham, and was ordained deacon in 1995 in Carlisle Cathedral. He then became an assistant curate, first at   Ulverston (St Mary with Holy Trinity and St Jude), and then, after he was priested in 1997, at Barrow-in-Furness (St John the Evangelist) from 2000 to 2008. Since then he has served as Team Vicar at  St Matthews, Barrow-in-Furness  with   Christ the King, Newcastle and was also Chaplain to the Northumbria Police from 2008-2012.

So far, so commonplace, you may say. But peel off the next layer, and you will find him working as a lay pastoral assistant in the Baptist Church. 1984 found Mark Edwards studying at Morland Bible College. He had come to faith through the help of ‘a godly pastor’ at Chester City Mission, where he had been spending a lot of time.

41ULf1EnE8L._And why had he been spending a lot of time at the Chester City Mission? Well, and it is at this point that Mark’s life story departs from the usual well-worn tracks, he had been sleeping on the floor of this church because he was homeless. And why was he homeless? Well, he had been discharged from a mental health hospital, where he had been sectioned. And why was he sectioned? He had tried to commit suicide. And why had he tried to kill himself? He had been in care from the age of 3 until the age of 17. Mark’s first book, ‘ Tears in the Dark’, covers the period of his life up until his ordination as deacon in 1995.

D. Gray, in reviewing this book, says:

Mark Edwards is my vicar so I can see the continuing results of his book from his difficult childhood to his calling to the priesthood. The book is full of struggle and love and God’s intervention by placing Mark’s wife Lesley in his path when he needed love the most. She was and is his Godsend and I recommend “Tears in the Dark” not just as a good read but as a learning tool for all who suffered in childhood and beyond


Mark Edwards seems to be a living breathing exemplar of the adage, ‘if God gives you lemons, make lemonade’. It is pretty clear that, not only has he turned his own life around, he is devoting himself to those around him. He says ‘when I am not involved in Ministry I am on duty as a volunteer community First Responder with the Ambulance Service’. And you will realise that this is just the tip of the iceberg when I tell you that he was awarded the MBE in 2010 ‘for services to the community of Barrow in Furness’. How many other priests do you know who have had a similar award?

I have not met Mark, but we have spoken on the telephone and I can vouch for his endearing openness and the ability to project his love of God and his fellow man. ‘Beyond the Collar’ is available as a Kindle publication rather than in hard cover, but he drew the following personal warm responses to his book:

‘ A pacey fluent irresistible read with a Tiggerish bounce, nakedly candid, forthright and impressive ‘ Quentin Letts 

Mark Edwards takes the reader on a personal emotional roller-coaster, while conveying what it’s like to be a vicar in a Northern industrial town ” Editor of The Independent Chris Blackhurst

‘ A very honest and revealing book and a good read ‘ – ITV Lorraine Kelly

‘ Well worth the read.’ Natalie Haynes ( Booker Prize Judge)

‘ A powerful story’ BBC Television Songs of Praise Pam Rhodes

” A refreshing down to earth account of the difficulties and challenges facing a Vicar and his family “ ( Church of England Newspaper )

“ A no-holds-barred honest laugh-out-loud funny sometimes raw Auto-biography of a Vicar“ Pattie Moys ( Minister)


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Beyond the Collar: Confessions of a Vicar [Kindle Edition]


Kindle Price: £4.27 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
* Unlike print books, digital books are subject to VAT.

What the Revd Mark Edward says about this book:

I was inspired to write this sequel ‘ Beyond the Collar ‘  to reveal what life is really like (warts and all) behind the dog collar for a clergyman and his family living in the vicarage and serving the parish.

The book picks up from where my last one left off at my ordination in 1995 and tells the story of my curacy and my first living as Vicar serving in two deprived parishes.

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