THE new Bishop of Durham will finally get down to work this week, following a colourful arrival rich in pomp and tradition.
The Right Reverend Paul Butler’s public ministry as the 74th Bishop of Durham will officially begin with his formal enthronement at Durham Cathedral on Saturday (February 22).
He is expected to keep with tradition by banging on the iconic North door with his pastoral staff, before the gateway to the 900-year-old shrine of St Cuthbert is swung open and he is allowed entry.
The day before, the bishop will be welcomed to the Durham Diocese in colourful style on the bridge over the River Tees at Croft, near Darlington, as the Mayor of Darlington, Charles Johnson, presents him a falchion said to have been wielded by Sir John Conyers as he slay the legendary Sockburn Worm.
Next week, Bishop Butler will visit his new diocese’s three archdeaconries: Durham on Tuesday, Auckland on Wednesday and Sunderland on Thursday.
The former Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham was first announced as successor to Justin Welby, now the Archbishop of Canterbury, last September but has had to wait patiently as the ancient process of his appointment has slowly played out over the following months.
A former social worker and student evangelist, Bishop Butler supports the ordination of women bishops but has traditional, orthodox views on homosexuality.