Okay – so our Bishop is going to be the Archbishop of Canterbury. It’s quite a shock to the system, but we are getting used to it. Saw it coming, actually. Our loss – your gain.
But +JW is not the only show in town when the town, and diocese, is Durham. After all, the Cathedral is the nation’s favourite building (official) and the Theology and Religion Department of Durham University the top-ranked in the country. And where else do you get hills, beaches, skies, communities and people like those you find here?
A blog about all the good things could be very long… So here are seven which make up, for me, the tip of the magnificent iceberg that is the Diocese of Durham.
We like it here: Although many clergy are reluctant to come to the diocese, once here, they are even more reluctant to move away. This is the Michael Ramsey ‘tears on Durham station’ phenomenon.
We minister to the young: The number of children and young people with whom the church is connecting is steadily increasing. A survey of all parishes this year underlines the point.
We care for all: Recognising the need to support all in the church, the diocese runs a Counselling Service for both clergy and laity.
We grow leaders: The diocese has contributed to the ministerial formation of many now in senior leadership positions across the church. The new ABC has been mentioned but don’t forget the Bishops of Oxford, Ely, St Edmudsbury and Ipswich, and Dover, and the Assistant Bishop of Newcastle and the next Bishop of Whitby. Then there are the Archdeacons of Chester, Maidstone and Northumberland not to mention the Precentors of the two great cathedrals on the banks of the Thames. (Running out of space now.. )
We join in: The Church remains a respected institution and its ministers are looked to for engagement and comment. If you ask senior leaders in the region to talk to clergy they say, ‘Yes! When is it?’.
We promote theological learning for all: The Lindisfarne Regional Training Partnership and Cranmer Hall continue to push the boundaries of theological education and formation in different ways. There are both popular and scholarly authors among the clergy and laity of the diocese.
We’ve got a dynamic Cathedral: The Cathedral is a real player, promoting spiritual values, offering free entry and hosting powerfully moving occasions – Miners’ Gala Service and Lumiere among them. Its Open Treasure project will reinforce all this and set it up for decades more of service. And yes, its just opened a fantastic new shop.
Now…if you don’t believe me – come and take a look.