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Diocese of Durham
Bishop Paul Butler Diocese of Durham.png
Diocese of Durham
World News

Bishop of Durham announces retirement

by Kelly Valencia

The Bishop of Durham, Rt Rev Paul Butler, has announced he plans to retire in February 2024.

The 67-year old, who was formerly bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, took over the high-profile position in Durham in February 2014, succeeding the current Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Rev Justin Welby.

In a video message, Bishop Paul described his time serving in the diocese as “a huge honour and privilege” and reflected on his ten years in the post.

“They have been ten, extraordinary, rich, diverse, and enjoyable years. They've been full of challenges. All along the way, I know that I will have made lots and lots of mistakes, not deliberate. And I've had to do lots of saying sorry, as well as loads of things which have been exciting, encouraging.

“The thing that stood out most has been the amazing people of this diocese. Those of us who are within the churches, who serve day in, day out week in week out, seeking to bless their local communities. Thank you for all you've done, amazing clergy. But it's also the wider community, the local authorities, the local community organisations and local charities who have been stunning and it's been a joy and privilege to work with you.

“Rosemary and I will miss you enormously when we move away. But for now, thank you so much for sharing in walking with Jesus together,” he said.

Bishop Paul currently serves as an 'Advocate for Children' and holds the position of Chair of the National Society, which oversees education in the Church of England and the Church of Wales.As one of the permanent 'Lords Spiritual' in the House of Lords, he has voiced his concerns about the UK’s Illegal Migration Bill currently going through parliament and has advocated for a review into the impact of cuts to Universal Credit and the Two Child Limit, emphasising how these policies contribute to increased child poverty.

Earlier this year, he served as ‘Bishop Assistant to the King’ during the Coronation of King Charles III at Westminster Abbey.

The Archbishop of York, Most Rev Stephen Cottrell, said: “Paul has been a fabulous Bishop of Durham, active in the Diocese and the region, but also playing a full and effective part in the national life of the Church.

“His lifelong commitment to ministry with and for children and young people is now reflected in the national strategy of the Church of England. He has also been a great champion of the poor and of refugees. But first and foremost, Paul is a follower of Jesus. He has been a compelling and consistent voice for the Christian faith.

“Many of us have learned so much about Christian discipleship from him. We thank him and his wife Rosemary for their incredible service to the Church and the gospel.”

The Bishop of Jarrow, Rt Rev Sarah Clark, will lead the Diocese until the next Bishop of Durham is appointed.

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