Bishop Paul, preaches in Durham Cathedral
 Bishop Paul, preaches in Durham Cathedral

Bishop Paul, preaches in Durham Cathedral

The Right Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham has today welcomed four new canons at their installation at Durham Cathedral.

In his sermon on Sunday 22nd February 2015, Bishop Paul said: “It feels good, personally, to be here in the Cathedral on the anniversary of my installation as Bishop a year ago. In this installation we recognise that ministry is the task of us all and is shared between us all. For the one Lord is the Lord of all, not only Jew and Greek but ordained and lay, male and female, capitalist and socialist, rich and poor – and indeed whatever other divides we place amongst ourselves.”

Full sermon

A Hospital Chaplain with her long and distinguished service in that ministry; a wonderfully faithful parish priest serving his communities, with their joys and challenges, their wealth and poverty; a Baronness who serves the nation and region through her passion for social justice in God’s name; and a leader of a theological institution offering high quality, brilliant training for emerging church leaders. The gifts that Caroline, Austin, Maeve and Mark use in their daily lives are outstanding. In making them canons of this wonderful place of worship, prayer and mission we recognise these gifts and pray that God will continue to use them day by day in their different settings. We also ask them to offer their wisdom and experience, in a small way, into the life of the Cathedral that it may continue to be effective as a centre for mission in the city, diocese and wider region.

It feels good, personally, to be here in the Cathedral on the anniversary of my installation as Bishop a year ago. In this installation we recognise that ministry is the task of us all and is shared between us all. For the one Lord is the Lord of all, not only Jew and Greek but ordained and lay, male and female, capitalist and socialist, rich and poor – and indeed whatever other divides we place amongst ourselves. The one Lord is Lord of all. The one living God who ‘is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness … Forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, yet by no means clearing the guilty’. God’s abundant grace does not mean justice is forgotten. In his extraordinary way, supremely in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus God’s love and justice meet.

What do Canons Do?

– Pray for the Cathedral and its ministry
– Offer wisdom and advice
– Be an ambassador for the Cathedral

But mostly they carry on what they are called to do day by day. They continue to recruit, encourage and train ordinands. They continue to argue for good laws in our land that serve people well. They sit by bedsides, encourage nurses and managers under stress. They visit the sick, comfort the dying and the bereaved. They foster people’s gifts. They serve the Lord whom they love.

They keep recognising their need of God’s grace and forgiveness so recognise that calling on the name of the Lord is not a one off life event, though it may begin that way. They keep calling on the name of the Lord.

They keep nourishing their inner life; their heart by believing in the God who made himself known in Jesus. So they read the Scriptures, they pray, they ask questions and debate; they learn from sisters and brothers about the ways of the Lord. They nurture the believer’s heart.

They quietly yet boldly and confidently keep speaking out the name of Jesus as Lord. They confess with their lips to others that Jesus is real, true and matters to everyone. They keep speaking out that the one who is Lord over all peoples, all nations, all situations is Jesus Christ the Lord. They do so in humility, owning up to not knowing all the answers and wondering just what this Lordship looks like some of the time. But they do keep saying to friends, enemies and the world Jesus is Lord.

In this way of course canons are no different from any of us for we all need to call on the name of the Lord. We all need to keep nurturing our inner life of faith. We all need to keep confessing with our lips the wonder and glory of God made known in Jesus Christ.

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