The Right Reverend Paul Butler was enthroned on Saturday Feb 22 in a service at Durham Cathedral at which he was formally welcomed into his new role.
On his way to the Cathedral for the service, he walked through a guard of honour made up of young people from church schools in the Anglican Diocese of Durham then rapped three times on the door with his staff.
Having been formally welcomed into the Cathedral, he was enthroned before giving a sermon to an audience including leaders from other faiths, civic dignitaries and overseas visitors.
During the sermon, he talked about the importance of growing the Church; to emphasise the point, runner bean seeds supplied free by Mr Fothergill’s Seeds Ltd, of Newmarket, Suffolk, were distributed to the congregation.
He also talked about the importance of supporting the needy in our society and encouraging young people, themes that he has indicated will be important during his time as Bishop.
Bishop Paul (pictured here being enthroned by The Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove, Dean of Durham) said: “Last September, when my appointment to this role was announced in this stunning Cathedral, I highlighted three priorities. These remain tackling poverty together, engaging with children and young people and growing the church. They interweave and intertwine in a way that it is not always possible to separate – rather like how beans grow together around a framework.
“Poverty, economic, social and spiritual, is a scourge, whether it is here in the North East, or in Lesotho, Burundi or Romania. It has to be confronted and tackled. But this has to be done by all sectors of society working together. The Church has a key part to play in this and we must play it to the full.
“Children and young people have a vital contribution to make to our society and to our churches now. They are not just “the future”, they are part of all our present. They must be listened to, encouraged and nurtured, protected appropriately and offered hope for their and all of our future. Every church needs to engage with children and young people, in schools and villages in uniformed organisations, clubs and on the streets.
“The Church as agent of God’s Kingdom should be growing – growing in our love for God, his world, his people. A healthily growing Church will be a Church that engages with its local community, seeking its welfare.
“We should expect growth. We do not plant seeds without expecting growth to happen. We know that not every seed will germinate and that some will be more fruitful than others, but we expect growth. We know, too, this happens with proper care and nurture; if we want good growth then appropriate nurture is essential.”
The Bishop also mentioned Helen-Ann Hartley, who today (Saturday) is being consecrated and installed as Bishop of Waikato in the Cathedral Church of St Peter, Hamilton, in the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia. She is the first woman ordained within the Church of England to become a bishop. Helen-Ann is the daughter of Canon Jim and Mrs Pat Francis, who live near Durham, and is a former Acolyte of Durham Cathedral.
After the service, the Bishop (pictured here with his chaplain on the day Liturgical Administrator Alex Crawford) stood at the main door to the Cathedral and blessed the city of Durham and the North East.