Poignant send off for popular Southwell bishop

The new Bishop of Durham Paul Butler

The new Bishop of Durham Paul Butler

A moving farewell service in Southwell Minster has marked the stepping down of Rt Rev Paul Butler after four years as Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham.

Tears were shed in his last public appearance before leaving to become the next Bishop of Durham in the New Year.

During the evening, a mixture of formal hymns, modern choruses and readings were interspersed with humorous anecdotes and insights.

Distinguished guests included the Lord-Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, Sir John Peace, who paid a civic tribute, Sir Andrew Buchanan, retired Lord Lieutenant and Colonel Tim Richmond Vice-Lord Lieutenant.

They were accompanied by Nicky Weston, High Sheriff of Nottingham, and coun David Mellen, chairman of One Nottingham, who presented the couple with a plaque decorated with Nottingham Lace.

Also in attendance were the Bishops Council, Cathedral Council, Interfaith representatives and the College of Canons and Chapter, all robed to provide a spectacular backdrop to the proceedings.

Clergy and parishioners from across the diocese filled the nave.

The Cathedral Choir, Girls Choir and Minster Chorale and Skegby Youth Band performed and led the congregation in singing, which began with a processional hymn.

The Dean, the Very Rev John Guille welcomed Bishop Paul and wife Rosemary into the cathedral, which was followed by a community tribute by Craig Moxham, head teacher of Cotgrave C of E Primary School.

Before he began his sermon he thanked the media, who were represented among the congregation.

“You have been suitably robust when necessary, always professional, but also always polite, kind and friendly – thank you,” he said.

Bishop Paul explained in his sermon that he was the most blessed bishop in terms of cathedrals, having served in Winchester, Southwell and shortly, Durham.

His chosen scriptures for preaching were from Isaiah and Mark’s gospel and he thanked many people, from the Bishop of Sherwood and the Rt Rev Tony Porter to churchwardens and readers, youth group leaders, parishioners, and Rosemary and their children.

In a poignant moment, the Dean removed Bishop Paul’s crosier, robe, and mitre and laid them on the altar, and he was given his own pastoral staff in exchange.

Gifts were presented to the couple which included a framed print of Southwell Minster from the Dean on behalf of the Cathedral and a wooden garden bench and a glass sculpture from the diocese made by Nottinghamshire artist, Ingrid Pears.




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