THE new Bishop of Durham challenged the church to leave behind a mindset of decline or maintaining the status quo and expect growth as he was enthroned this morning.
The Right Reverend Paul Butler told a packed Durham Cathedral: “We need to look to God to keep His promises that when the seed of the Kingdom is scattered, it will grow.”
Re-stating his three priorities of tackling poverty, engaging with children and young people and growing the church, he urged his audience not to “underestimate the small”, whether that meant a child, a project or a congregation.
Growth would not always mean more numbers in church, he said, but added: “Although it’s more likely when we engage with communities than when we try to be a holy club.”
Earlier, Bishop Butler had processed to the Cathedral from nearby Durham Castle, before, following tradition, knocking on the north door with a staff to request entry.
In a two-hour service which mixed centuries-old tradition and modern songs, the former Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham made a series of promises, was enthroned in his bishop’s seat and was presented with the Bishop of Durham’s pastoral staff.
Next week, he will hold three prayer days in the Durham Diocese’s three archdeaconries: Durham, Auckland and Sunderland.