A DIOCESE has welcomed its first female bishop during a special service at Durham Cathedral.

The Rt Revd Sarah Clark, the new Bishop of Jarrow, was welcomed to the Durham Diocese on Sunday.

The former civil servant, originally from an ex-mining community in Wales, is the diocese’s first female bishop.

She said: “I am immensely proud to be here in Durham, a place that has special meaning to me through the parallels it draws to my upbringing in the coal fields of South Wales.

“The welcome I have received today has been almost overwhelming and I am really looking to getting out and meeting people across the diocese.”

The Northern Echo:

Hundreds of people from across the diocese attended a service at Durham Cathedral to see the Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham license Bishop Clark for her work as Bishop of Jarrow and welcomed her on behalf of the diocese.

Bishop Paul said: “I am delighted to formally welcome Bishop Sarah to the diocese. In the service I said ‘Sarah, together we have been called to serve and care for the people of Christ in this diocese. I entrust to you the functions and responsibilities of the Suffragan See of Jarrow, as we share in proclaiming the gospel from the Tyne to the Tees and from the dales to the sea’.

“I know Sarah will bring rich gifts in helping people discover and discern their God-given calling, including to ordination.

“She will also bring a deep commitment to our three priorities of children and young people, tackling poverty together and growing the church in depth, engagement with communities and number.”

The service was attended by the Mayor of Durham councillor John Lethbridge, High Sheriff Dr Stephen Cronin, Lord-Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear Susan Winfield and Lord Lieutenant of Durham Sue Snowden.

The Northern Echo:

Also in attendance was James Ramsbotham, chief executive of the North East England Chamber of Commerce, whose family include a former Bishop of Jarrow the Rt Revd John Alexander Ramsbotham, later Bishop of Wakefield.

During the service, he presented the Jarrow Crozier on behalf of the Ramsbotham family.

The crozier had belonged to Bishop Ramsbotham when he was Bishop of Jarrow in the 1950s.

Mr Ramsbotham said: “The crozier was presented to my grandfather by St George’s, Jesmond as he became Bishop of Jarrow. It was made by Molly Challenor, at the time, the only female silversmith – and a parishioner. Very appropriate for the first female Bishop of Jarrow.

“The crozier has particular special mean to my wife and me as it was used by my grandfather Bishop John when he married us some 25 years ago.”

Bishop Clark was also installed by Dean of Durham Andrew Tremlett into the Bishop of Jarrow’s customary stall in the quire, becoming a Supernumerary Non-Residentiary Canon of Durham Cathedral.

Through this, she became a member of the College of Canons and the wider Cathedral Foundation.

She was consecrated as Bishop of Jarrow at York Minster on February 27 and succeeds the Right Reverend Mark Watts Bryant.