‘I don’t believe in sitting in the office’ – new Bishop of Durham pledges to serve the community

The new Bishop of Durham Paul Butler

The new Bishop of Durham Paul Butler

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THE new Bishop of Durham pledged to be visible and out in the community when he takes up his post in the New Year.

The Right Reverend Paul Butler looks set to continue the high-profile ministry of his predecessor Justin Welby, now Archbishop of Canterbury.

Rt Rev Butler, currently Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, was unveiled at Durham Cathedral.

“I don’t believe in sitting in an office,” he said.

“I am new to the area but intend to get to know it very well.

“I will be out and about and my style is relaxed, I’m just as happy sitting on the floor with someone as meeting them in an office. I have set three key priorities, growing the church, unemployment, and young people.”

Bishop Welby was in Durham for two years before leaving to become Archbishop of Canterbury.

“I am here for the long haul,” said Rt Rev Butler.

“My wife and I are very much looking forward to moving to the North East and getting to know its community properly.

“The people here have a reputation for being warm, welcoming and for their sense of humour.

“As Bishop of Durham I have a seat in the House of Lords and I intend to use that to the full to speak up for them and the region.”

Rt Rev Butler is 58 next week. He will be moving to the Bishop’s Residence at Bishop Auckland with his wife, Rosemary, but without his four grown-up children who are settled elsewhere in the country.

Rt Rev Butler studied English at university and worked in social work before starting training as a minister in 1980.

He described his interests as “gardening, walking and the family”.

Rt Rev Butler added: “I am also what I would describe as a soft Tottenham Hotspur fan, and I like to watch Match of the Day.

“I’m aware of the strong interest in football in the North East, so I am looking forward to going to see some matches.”

Rt Rev Butler’s formal enthronement as Bishop of Durham is expected to take place in January or February.