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New Bishop of Durham formally elected
THE next Bishop of Durham was formally elected tonight (Tuesday, October 22), in a behind-closed-doors ceremony dating back centuries.
The Right Reverend Paul Butler, currently Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, was announced as successor to Justin Welby, now Archbishop of Canterbury, last month, making him the Bishop-Designate.
Tonight’s unanimous vote by the College of Canons of Durham Cathedral marks his election as Bishop of Durham, the Church of England’s fourth most senior post, making him Bishop-Elect.
The next stage is for Bishop Butler’s election to be confirmed at York Minster, a stage due to take place on January 20.
After meeting the Queen and taking an oath known as homage, he will finally be enthroned in Durham Cathedral on February 22.
Bishop Butler was not present for today’s election but he spent yesterday in Durham, working with church and cathedral leaders in preparation for the start of his North-East ministry.
The Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove, who chaired today’s election meeting, said: “The College of Canons has today formally acknowledged he is coming to us as Bishop of Durham.
“It’s a sign that the diocese assures him of our welcome and pledges to work with him and pray for him.”
Following the vote, Dean Sadgrove formally proclaimed the outcome at the opening of a cathedral evensong service held shortly afterwards.
He said: “It’s great that we’ve reached this point. It’s a moment of recognition. We look forward to him coming among us.”
Having spent Monday with the Bishop, he added: “It’s clear that he’s looking forward to it.”
Bishop Butler, a 58-year-old married father-of-four, has said his priorities in his new role will be tackling poverty, growing the Church and working with children and young people.
Born in London, he is a former social worker who became a Christian as a teenager. He is not expected to make any further public comments until after Christmas. However, he is known to support the introduction of women bishops but hold traditional views on homosexuality.
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