THE new Bishop of Durham was announced today - and his official job engagement was at a school in South Tyneside.
The Right Reverend Paul Butler, currently Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, was announced as the successor to Justin Welby, who is now Archbishop of Canterbury.
Bishop Paul’s first act in his new role was to take part in a morning assembly as Holy Trinity C of E Primary in South Shields today.
He said “To be called to become Bishop of Durham came as a big surprise, but is a huge privilege for many reasons.
“This ancient Diocese goes way back before England was a united nation.
“The heritage is extraordinary; each new Bishop of Durham stands on the shoulders of some of the greatest Christians in this country’s long and proud history.
“It will be very sad to leave Southwell and Nottingham; the work that we have begun there will continue, and I am sure in time will be taken up by a really good and
inspirational bishop able to take the Diocese from strength to strength.
“I am delighted to be coming to Durham and the North East at a time of significant change that is both exciting and challenging in equal parts.
“I come here to serve and to seek to enable the continual renewing of the faith and our engagement with all people in every community”.
Although not from the North East, Bishop Paul will come to Durham with a keen interest and understanding of the issues and the geography of the region.
He said: “I come here deeply aware of the challenges faced by the community and the church.
“Although I am new to the area, I have visited the region’s universities both in my work before training for ordination and on my Journey of becoming a bishop in the Church of England.
“My first priority will be to get out and about meeting people on the ground; hearing about their lives and communities.
“I want to get to know the area and being out and about is the only way to do so.
“I will want to build relationships with the clergy, local community leaders, local and national politicians and business leaders.
“I hope that the itinerary of this announcement day begins to demonstrate that commitment.”