Thinking Anglicans

Paul Butler of Southwell and Nottingham to move to Durham

Updated several times during the morning and afternoon

The Diocese of Durham has announced that its next bishop is to be Paul Butler, currently Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham.

Bishop of Durham Designate – Announced

The new Bishop of Durham Designate was announced today. The announcement from by Downing Street this morning confirms that the next Bishop of Durham Designate is The Rt Revd Paul Butler.

Currently Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, Bishop Paul was installed at Southwell Minster on 27 February 2010. He was consecrated at Southwark Cathedral on 24 June 2004 and served as Bishop of Southampton until his move to Southwell. Commenting in advance of today’s announcement Bishop Paul said that he was very much looking forward to coming to the North East and continuing the work started by the previous Bishop of Durham, The Most Reverend Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury…

Somewhat later than the press release from Durham, the announcement from the Prime Minister’s office has now appeared online.

Diocese of Durham: nomination approved

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Right Reverend Paul Roger Butler BA for election as Bishop of Durham.

The Queen has approved the nomination of the Right Reverend Paul Roger Butler, BA, Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, for election as Bishop of Durham in succession to the Right Reverend Justin Portal Welby, MA, on his elevation as Archbishop of Canterbury on 4 February 2013.

Notes for editors

The Right Reverend Paul Butler (aged 57) was educated at Nottingham University where he took a BA in English and History in 1977. He trained for ordination at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. From 1983 to 1987 he was a Curate at All Saints with Holy Trinity, Wandsworth, Southwark. From 1987 to 1992 he moved to the Scripture Union as Inner London Evangelist and was then Deputy Head of Missions from 1992 to1994. From 1987 to 1994 he was a Non Stipendiary Minister at East Ham St Paul, Chelmsford. From 1994 to 1997 he was Priest-in-Charge at Walthamstow St Mary with St Stephen and also Priest-in-Charge at Walthamstow St Luke, Chelmsford. From 1997 to 2004 he was Team Rector of the Parish of Walthamstow. He was Area Dean of Waltham Forest from 2000 to 2004. Since 2001 he has been Honorary Canon of Byumba, Rwanda. From 2004 to 2009 he was Suffragan Bishop of Southampton. Since 2009 he has been Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham. Since 2004 he has also acted as Archbishops’ Advocate for Children. He currently is Co Chair of the Joint Safeguarding Liaison Group for the Church of England and Methodist Church. He was Chair of CMS from 2008-10 and is currently President of Scripture Union.

Paul Butler is married to Rosemary and they have 4 adult children. His interests include reading, writing, travel, gardening and listening to music.

The Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham has also announced the appointment.

The Diocese of Durham has published an alternative version of their announcement.

Press reports

John Bingham in The Telegraph New Bishop of Durham announced as Rt Rev Paul Butler
BBC Paul Butler to be new Bishop of Durham
Steven Morris in The Guardian Supporter of female bishops to replace Justin Welby as bishop of Durham
Matt Westcott in the Northern Echo New Bishop of Durham unveiled
Bruce Unwin in the Northern Echo New Bishop of Durham will “carry on good work” of now Archbishop Welby
Mark Caplin In Christian Today Paul Butler announced as next Bishop of Durham
Madeleine Davies in the Church Times Next Bishop of Durham announced

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Laurence Cunnington
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Laurence Cunnington

Rosemary has done fantastic work on the flower borders of Bishop’s Manor, Southwell. She will be missed.

Dan BD
Guest

The fourth photo in Durham Diocese News’ article (+Paul meets +Mark) is hilarious. The body language! The sheer charisma!

Anthony Archer
Guest
Anthony Archer

This is an inspirational appointment, despite creating yet another diocesan vacancy. The diocese needs stability and the clear focus on mission that ++Welby started before he was poached. +Butler has exactly the gifts Durham needs and is a very experienced bishop.

PK
Guest
PK

Yes looks like a ‘like for like’ replacement in some respects – probably not surprising, since the diocese’s statement of needs is unlikely to have changed much in the past year or two. Every blessing to Bishop Paul in his appointment.

The Rev'd Mervyn Noote
Guest

Four of the five senior bishoprics in the Church of England are held by Evangelicals. All five are held by conservatives, of whom three are deeply conservative – Chartres, Dakin, and now Butler. The senior lay official of the Church is a deeply conservative Evangelical. Now, on one level, one should not get too concerned about the career progression of liberal bishops. On another level, two things are worrying: the lack of awareness by the Evangelical establishment that they are seen by many as threatening, domineering, and intolerant of dissent;,and the lack of humility from a group of people largely… Read more »

Philip Hobday
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Philip Hobday

I don’t know Bishop Paul though I am sure he will be very good. And while I am not sure I agree with the characterisation of evangelicalism by the previous commentator, I do think it is a concern that four of the five of the senior bishops in the Church (Canterbury, York, Durham, and Winchester) ]emerged from evangelical backgrounds. This suggests an urgent need for some balancing of the bench in upcoming appointments to give greater weight to Anglo-Catholics, liberals, and those who don’t really adhere to any particular tradition in the church. I have no idea how the dynamics… Read more »

Rev'd Laurence Roberts
Guest
Rev'd Laurence Roberts

This man is on public as anti-gay – so I cannot get worked up about his partner’s skills in the garden.

Nor can I applaud such a narrow-minded choice.

Three Evangelicals successively seems a bit much to me.

Glad to see one NSM ministry being perhaps, validated.

Are we now to be told ‘he is on a journey’ ?

Ian Paul
Guest

I think it is interesting to call Paul B ‘deeply conservative’. On what measure? He might be theologically, in some senses, but contrary to the following comment, he is very far from ‘threatening, domineering, and intolerant of dissent.’

He is very aware of media and of social engagement, and is about to do a series in our church which is very creative and risk-taking.

Graeme Buttery
Guest
Graeme Buttery

As a priest in Durham Diocese and a member of the vacancy in see committee, can I say in reply to The Rev’d Mervyn Noote that, while acknowledging the needs and hopes of the wider church, we very much need a bishop that will focus on our diocese at a time of great challenge and great opportunity and that wider church politics were not high on our list of priorities. And in response to pk: the priorities might not have changed greatly since +Justin was with us for so short a time, but we did re-write the statement of needs… Read more »

David
Guest
David

Mervyn
You have a point – but who you mean by the ‘Evangelical Establishment’. There is no such body. And I think you are in danger of generalising. Evangelicalism within the CofE is actually a very diverse group negotiating within itself some considerable tensions around precisely the issues that concern you. It seems to me that those of the Broad, Liberal tradition need to challenged in their tendency to assume evangelical = conservative. It doesn’t.

Laurence Cunnington
Guest
Laurence Cunnington

“I cannot get worked up about his partner’s skills in the garden.” Laurence Roberts

I was damning with faint praise! In other words, the only thing I will miss about Paul Butler’s presence in this diocese, is his wife.

PK
Guest
PK

Thank you Fr Graeme, I certainly wasn’t implying that the CNC didn’t thoroughly think through their current needs or follow the appropriate processes. My sense is that +Paul will be the sort of person to take the diocese forward – let’s hope he isn’t poached by York ! 😉

Tim Chesterton
Guest

Interestingly enough, I have heard conservative evangelicals – i.e. conservative on the issue of the ordination of women – complain that they do not have a single bishop on the English bench who represents their point of view. Truly, perspective makes all the difference. And let’s not forget that there was a time not so very long ago – in the 1940s and 50s – when evangelicals in the Church of England were completely ignored by the establishment. That’s still pretty much the case in my denomination, the Anglican Church of Canada, everywhere except the Diocese of the Arctic. I’ve… Read more »

John
Guest
John

Wasn’t it the case that during Welby’s very brief (I, of course, think shamefully brief) ‘occupation’, attendance in the Durham diocese declined by 9% (one of the worst in the country)? I of course wish it had been Jeffrey John. Now that would have been an inspired appointment, it would have gone some way to remedying scandalous past injustices, it would actually have been welcomed by a very wide constituency, including the likes of Father David and Evangelicals of many stripes, and it would have signalled that the C of E was actually doing something about the homophobia of some… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

Has the supply of Anglo-Catholic bishops completely dried up? A B.A. From Nottingham hardly puts the next Bishop of Durham in the same league as Westcott and Lightfoot, Henson and Habgood and the two Ramseys. Not only is there a great paucity of Catholic bishops in the CofE but also, alas, of scholar bishops! Nevertheless I wish the next Dunelm well as he prepares to be enthroned in the greatest cathedral on planet earth, bar none.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

From the Church Times report linked above: On same-sex marriage, the Bishop said that his position would be viewed as “traditional, orthodox, in terms of my view of marriage between a man and a woman, but I also believe that we need to look at that, and think through how we respond best to those committing themselves to life-long same-sex relationships. I have a deep concern about sexual licence and freedom in all its forms – stability has to be something we look for and encourage. At present, I would not be in a position to feel we could offer… Read more »

Rev'd Laurence Roberts
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Rev'd Laurence Roberts

On the one hand Paul Butler thinks : ‘I have a deep concern about sexual licence and freedom in all its forms – stability has to be something we look for and encourage.’ BUT on the other, he will not support stability in action: ‘At present, I would not be in a position to feel we could offer blessings of same-sex unions,’ That just won’t do bishop. Nor will this : “…but I recognise that it is an ongoing discussion. We have to keep working at that.” Carry-On Talking — you’ll soon find it a solitary activity. The time for… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

John , I would indeed have welcomed Jeffrey John as the next Bishop of Durham. A scholar bishop once more upon the highest throne in Christendom. Alas, with the present John at Ebor that was always an unlikely prospect.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Simon,
I don’t call being a signatory to the Coalition 4 Marriage as being anything less than staunchly conservative.

It’s another case of words pointing this way, actions the other.

Ian Paul
Guest

I think there is a general concern about the lack of scholar-bishops. In my view this is due to increasing administrative demands, legislative challenges, and (IMHO) the move to a ‘tick the box’ approach to the appointment of bishops.

I am not sure we will ever be able to return to the era of bishops as thinkers and theological leaders. The demand to be CEO of the diocese is too great.

Father David
Guest
Father David

Ian, perhaps potential scholar bishops might not be sufficiently “street wise” to get through the interview ordeal which, I believe, is now part of the appointment process.

Laurence Cunnington
Guest
Laurence Cunnington

“He is very aware of media” Ian Paul

Aware he may be, but I think he needs a bit more media training before being let loose in front of a microphone again if this cringeworthy performance is anything to go by:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01m9mx2

17.21m to 20.55m

Stephen
Guest
Stephen

I read somewhere that the Diocese had said that they wanted someone who was gay friendly. If the new Bishop appears not to be so does this mean that the wishes of Dioceses are now being ignored?

Jean Mayland
Guest
Jean Mayland

I find this a very disappointing appointment. Jeffrey John would have been brilliant and given so many people hope. With the connection with the University Durham needs a scholar as well as someone who understands the people. There has not been a liberal Catholic scholar bishop in Durham since the days of Michael Ramsey, Ian Ramsey John Habgood and David Jenkins. All these men also understood the needs of the other people of their Diocese. It was high time for another. Both Durham Diocese and the Church of England are poorer as a result

Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby

‘I have a deep concern about sexual licence…’

But I’m certainly not going to countenance anything which might encourage fidelity and commitment because it means that I wil have to think about sex and we bishops don’t like doing that. And of course we all know that homosexuals are always at it like rabbits and we don’t like to think about that either, so we will denounce it instead and fall back on some lazy stereotypes.

‘Sexual licence’. Who on earth uses language like that these days, except bishops? Oh god, not another one!

PK
Guest
PK

I’m not sure we need to worry quite yet about the loss of scholar bishops, given that ++Rowan and +Tom Wright have only recently left their seats. However my sense is that Durham was looking for a bishop who this time round could give some attention to the local congregations rather than working on books or lecturing around the country – fair enough in my view. Laurence, your initial post was too subtle for the Thinking Anglicans faithful! I’m not sure if your aversion is to evangelicals generally or to +Paul personally, but if it’s the former given your diocese’s… Read more »

DavidRevd
Guest
DavidRevd

Not sure that the evangelicals recently appointed diocesan are particularly conservative (unless that is defined as not being as liberal as “Thinking Anglicans”)… But it is rather pleasant to see the hugely disproportionate number of Liberal Catholics and Modern Church members in the hierarchy finally being redressed.

Since the 1980s about 2/3rd of the people going into ordination training have been evangelicals (of various types) but the majority of people appointed Bishop or Dean were from liberal colleges (formerly Cuddesdon was dominant, recently Westcott came to the fore).

Geoff
Guest
Geoff

Fr Roberts, I am glad I am not the only one who noticed the disconnect between the lip service to valuing “stability” and the reluctance to act on that (very noble and in the best sense conservative!) sentiment. It would seem (with a few brave exceptions) that it’s ok for bishops to say nice things about the need for stable relationships as long as the church doesn’t actually have to do anything to strengthen or support them.

Ian Paul
Guest

Well, I wouldn’t call him ‘polished.’ But he is remarkably accessible and very personable. (I’m sure others will have a different view, but I’m not clear that we are short of pomposity in the C of E!)

More importantly, he has been a significant personal encourager of mission, and the diocese here has found that refreshing and effective–measurable, even.

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“I don’t call being a signatory to the Coalition 4 Marriage as being anything less than staunchly conservative.”

Quite. Yet again, Matthew 7:15 is strangely, er, prophetic.

Bishops, it would appear, have yet to learn that the internet provides a degree of transparency, such that you can’t any more say different things to different communities and hope that they don’t find out about each other. I guess that people who don’t realise that might assume that you can utter platitudes about new insights while signing the C4M petition without anyone noticing the contradiction.

Adrian Beney
Guest
Adrian Beney

Yes, Jeffrey John was touted pretty frequently as a possible Bishop by the press. Some (including me) were asked by the press how we would feel if he were appointed, or whether we knew if he had been. And all this interest because he’s gay, not because of whether he would have been a good bishop. I think Jeffrey John should be as appointable as a Bishop as the next man (or woman), but I also think that after Tom Wright’s busy schedule as an academic, and then an interregnum, and then Justin for barely a year and then another… Read more »

Jeremy Pemberton
Guest
Jeremy Pemberton

Ian Paul, Do you have evidence of the effectiveness of the ministry of Bishop Paul measured by congregation sizes? (Some people may want to question whether this is a proper measure of the effectiveness of the ministry of a diocesan bishop, but it does at least give us some measurable indicator of something). The statistics for the diocese of Southwell and Nottingham up to the latest releases (that I can find) are fairly dire. Average weekly attendances in 2009 were 17800, in 2010 it was 16800. This is a drop of 5.6% in the year before Bishop Paul came to… Read more »

J Drever
Guest
J Drever

Noting the comments made on this thread, I would suggest (tentatively) that the balance of party interests on the bench makes very little difference to the effectiveness, or not, of the episcopate. Most bishops are now functionaries decked out in purple, whose spiritual influence is often fairly limited. The Church strikes me as being a rather balkanised institution where each “party” takes its cue from its respective national lobby groups. Many party leaders have scarcely a prayer, still less a desire, of getting into lawn sleeves – for the twin cults of compromise and managerialism prevailing on the bench would… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

As Dunelm is one of the Church of England’s senior bishoprics, one might think that it deserves a really capable cleric to be elected as its bishop. Whether or not this is fulfilled in the proposed bishop-elect will only be discerned by the perceived results of his appointment. As witnessed by the trajectory of his immediate predecessor, the current Archbishop of Canterbury, one’s faith journey may receive enlightenment by the sheer fact of being entrusted with particular responsibilities bestowed in one’s new position in the Church. If the new Bishop of Durham proves to be a person of prayer, it… Read more »

Tim S
Guest
Tim S

I think that this is a very wise appointment. I know Bishop Paul personally as a suffragan in the Diocese of Winchester. He is a fine pastor, good leader. He spoke very boldly recently at General Synod over safeguarding. He has the common touch, a heart for the gospel, and given all the unsettling times that Durham has gone through recently, he will love the people and the place and will get to the heart of things pretty soon. As for a scholar, I too don’t think that this is an issue. However, if you want someone with one of… Read more »

John
Guest
John

Obviously, now, one must place some hope in the new bishop.

Nevertheless, wider issues remain:

‘Durham really did not need a bishop who, by virtue of his sexuality rather than his character and holiness, would have had every word and move scrutinised by a press that is as obsessed with sex, sexuality and gender as parts of the church.’

So that’s what professional PR advice on the gay issue within the C of E looks like. I think it’s very disturbing, it’s certainly pusillanimous, and its stupidity is becoming clearer with every passing day.

John Moles.

Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby

‘However, if you want someone with one of the best theologies and understandings of faith development in children, young people and families, then you have got one!’ It was remarked at a seminar here (Chichester) the other month that almost all the advertisements for clergy in the Church Times require an interest in and ability to work with children, young people and families. Since our churches are stuffed with older people, widowed and widowers, childless, divorced, single, or empty nesters, the vast majority of our congregations are apparently not worth the clergy developing theological skills to serve them. It is… Read more »

David
Guest
David

Richard
I simply cannot understand why you think that to seek church leaders who can draw in young families is ‘hankering after some imagined past’. Self evidently it is about the present and future of the church not the past. It is about faithful mission and growth.
(And though you seemed to have missed it, a great deal of careful resourcing has been going on relating to pastoral care in the growing proportion of elderly in our society/church)

RPNewark
Guest
RPNewark

Stephen on Thursday, 12 September:

“I read somewhere that the Diocese had said that they wanted someone who was gay friendly.”

Could you possibly be confusing the Durham statement of needs with that of Manchester? Just a thought.

James P
Guest
James P

Jeremy Pemberton.. in response to your information request, the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham recently achieved a 10% growth in church attendances, the highest growth rate of any English diocese. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22426144 I’m sure Bishop Paul would be the first to deflect praise to the clergy and laity of the churches whose hard work and prayer is behind this rise, but Bishop Paul (and his suffragan Bishop Tony) was right at the heart of this desire and work for church growth, he is a missional man with a real heart for the gospel and for people, and if Durham (and the… Read more »

Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby

Fr David, your response illustrates precisely what is wrong with the condescending approach of the church to older people. Quite frankly, the last thing I want as an older person is ‘pastoral care’ any more than I want it as a gay man.

Adrian Beney
Guest
Adrian Beney

John Moles. I don’t know why you as ascribe my comment about Durham not needing the glare of publicity to a professional PR person. That I am not, nor have I been advised to say that. I said it, and stand by it, as a long standing lay member of the diocese who attended David Jenkins’ installation as he preached a balanced and profoundly wise sermon on the catastrophic miners’ strike in Co Durham. A sermon reported the next day by sections of the press under the headline “Scargill must win, says Bishop.” That, combined with terrible reporting of +David’s… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

And as for Dean Jeffrey John. There is still the prospect of York, is there not? He would make a good offsider for Archbishop Justin – in my not so humble opinion.

David
Guest
David

Richard, You ignore my main point and this is off thread but since moving to a new region a year ago I have been looking for a church to join and worship with. Local choice is limited. Dwindling congregations where I am the youngest by some distance and a few town centre churches running services aimed at families (with some success and skill but which I find personally unendurable). It has felt very isolating. But we are part of a church facing huge challenges for its future. If I ask for a place in such a church for the years… Read more »

Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby

David. I am sure that our esteemed moderator would have said something if he thought that we were going off track. The issue in this post is about the suitability or otherwise of the person appointed to the Bishopric of Durham. Most contributors have chosen to focus on his views on homosexuality, One, Tim S, broadened out the discussion to include the contribution the Bishop might be expected to make in another area. I am merely following that up with a further contribution.

John
Guest
John

AB: I was not implying you were a professional PR spokesman for the C of E. However, you are a professional fund-raiser (including for Durham Cathedral) and you do claim to help influence people in a good way. What you said was classic PR stuff. My view – which I repeat – is that it is shameful. Obviously, I think JJ would have been a better bishop than PB, but it’s the issue that’s important. JJ has been dreadfully treated at least twice (and possibly a third time, because some people – not just ‘liberals’ – here in Durham think… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

Richard Ashby – please don’ t confuse your Davids. The David you refer to is not the same person as Father David. As for Father Ron’s choice for the next Archbishop of York, as much as I admire the brilliance of the Dean of St. Albans, I think the present Bishop of Chelmsford would be the ideal candidate to be the next Ebor. Besides when has someone only in priest’s orders been elevated to an Archbishopric in recent decades?

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“please don’ t confuse your Davids”

Maybe if the Davids weren’t all semi anonymous we wouldn’t confuse them?