THE new Bishop of Durham declared he is very much looking forward to “getting started” after his election to the Church of England’s fourth most senior post was formally confirmed tonight (Monday, January 20).
Speaking to The Northern Echo after his Confirmation of Election service at York Minster, Bishop Paul Butler said: “I’m looking forward to getting out and about and meeting people.”
The 74th Bishop of Durham and successor to the now-Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will now meet and swear an oath to the Queen before being enthroned at Durham Cathedral on Saturday, February 22.
Having been chosen for the job last year, Bishop Butler, until now Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, said he was very pleased the process had got this far and there was not a long delay before he could “get started”.
During the 75-minute service, attended by around 70 bishops, priests and prominent churchgoers including Auckland Castle saviour Jonathan Ruffer, the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, “charged” him with leading the Church in his “wonderful northern province”.
He said he was thrilled and delighted, although somewhat daunted at the task ahead.
During the service, which mixed centuries-old church tradition with formal legal ceremony, Dr Sentamu had warned Bishop Butler against doing nothing while sitting high up and against self-indulgent behaviour.
In a ten-minute sermon, he praised the North-East’s manufacturing sector, pointing out that Nissan workers at Washington had built a million cars over the last two years and the North-East was the only region of the country with a positive balance of trade.
However, he also said the region was suffering from high youth unemployment, low wages and the “bedroom tax” and hard-pressed working families were facing a cost of living crisis which meant they were caught in a downward social spiral.
He urged Bishop Butler to make Jesus Christ visible to all by living and proclaiming the Kingdom of God.
Bishop Butler’s son Andrew read from the Old Testament book of Amos and the Bishop delivered the final blessing himself.
His family is due to move to their new home in Bishop Auckland in early February.