|Bishop of Durham|
|Church||Church of England|
|Installed||22 February 2014|
|Other post(s)||Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham (2010–2014) |
Bishop of Southampton (2004–2009)
|Ordination||1983 (deacon); 1984 (priest)|
by Ronald Bowlby
|Consecration||24 June 2004|
by Rowan Williams
|Born||18 September 1955|
|Alma mater||University of Nottingham|
|Member of the House of Lords|
|Assumed office |
18 December 2013
Paul Roger Butler (born 18 September 1955) is the bishop of Durham in the Diocese of Durham. His election was confirmed on 20 January 2014 and he was installed and enthroned in Durham Cathedral on 22 February 2014. On 12 September 2013 it was announced that he had been appointed as bishop-designate of Durham (succeeding Justin Welby.) He was previously bishop of Southwell and Nottingham. He was installed at Southwell Minster on 27 February 2010. He served as the suffragan bishop of Southampton in the Diocese of Winchester from 2004 until 2010.
Butler was educated at Kingston Grammar School and received a BA in English and history with honours from the University of Nottingham in 1977. He worked for the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship (UCCF) in their Bookstall Service (1978–1980) before training for Ordained ministry at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford from 1980 to 1983.
He was ordained a deacon at Petertide (on 3 July) 1983 and a priest the following Petertide (1 July 1984), both times by Bishop Ronald Bowlby in Southwark Cathedral. He served his curacy between 1983 and 1987 at All Saints with Holy Trinity in Wandsworth in the Diocese of Southwark. He then moved to Scripture Union to become Inner London Evangelist, holding this post until 1992. Between 1992 and 1994 he was Deputy Head of Mission at Scripture Union. Between 1987 and 1994, he was also a non-stipendiary minister at St Paul's East Ham in the Diocese of Chelmsford.
Butler then moved to the Diocese of Chelmsford. Between 1994 and 1997 he was priest-in-charge of St. Mary's Church, Walthamstow with St Stephen's and St Luke's, becoming team rector of Walthamstow in 1997 until 2004. He was also area dean of Waltham Forest from 2000 to 2004 and was appointed an honorary canon of Byumba in Rwanda in 2001.
Butler was consecrated by the archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, at St Paul's Cathedral on 24 June 2004 and then installed at Winchester Cathedral on 4 July 2004. As well as being the bishop of Southampton from 2004, Butler also acts as an "Advocate for Children" amongst the bishops of the Church of England and as chairman of the Churches National Safeguarding Committee.
Butler is known for his annual "prayer-walks" in which he spends a week each year walking round a part of his diocese praying with local people.
In the 2018 Lambeth Awards given by the archbishop of Canterbury, Paul Butler received the Hubert Walter Award for Reconciliation and Interfaith Cooperation for service to the church in his role as lead bishop on safeguarding.
Butler is concerned about Universal Credit and fears the two child limit will force children in families with more than two children into relative poverty. In 2018 Butler said, "If people fall out of work for whatever reason they will not get the protection if they've got three children now. The predictions from people like the independent financial services are that the child limit is actually going to have the biggest impact on increasing the number of children living in relative poverty. I would love the government to have the willingness to revisit that whole policy."
Butler is also concerned about monthly payments and about delays in paying benefit, he feels moving people from weekly payments to monthly payments is unrealistic.
Butler has stated that he would not conduct same-sex marriages as he continues to view marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
He was a trustee of the Church Mission Society from 2000 to 2010 and its chairman from 2008 to 2010. He regularly visits Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda, and visited Natal, South Africa in January 2011 as part of a diocesan visit.
He has also served the YMCA at Forest (1995–2004), Southampton (2004–09), Nottingham (2010–13), Teesdale (2014-present).
In 2012 he was appointed president of Scripture Union, the charity he had worked for from 1987 to 1994.
He is a patron of the Scargill Movement (which operates Scargill House) as well as the Nottingham-based charity the Ear Foundation.
In March 2015, it was revealed that Butler had, a year previously, reported former Conservative MP Enoch Powell as being involved with a Westminster paedophile ring in the 1980s, after the allegations were passed to him by Dominic Walker, the former bishop of Monmouth.
Bishop Butler, like his predecessors, holds a seat in the House of Lords by virtue of his ecclesiastical office.
Butler was the bishop at the centre of the Elliott Review which led to damning headlines across UK media in March 2016. The review ushered in major change to the church's response to survivors of church sex abuse, and condemned as "reckless" the way in which Butler cut contact with a survivor following advice from insurers to limit liability. The highly critical report concluded there had been a string of "deeply disturbing" failures by senior Church of England figures, including the office of the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. It highlighted the need for all bishops to be urgently retrained. The church described the review "embarrassing and uncomfortable". The survivor called Butler's response "inadequate" and in a public letter urged him to lead a call for repentance across the House of Bishops.
He has a number of publications, including Reaching Children (1992), Reaching Families (1995) (both Scripture Union); Temptation & Testing (SPCK, 2007) and is a contributor to Through the Eyes of a Child (Church House 2009). His most recent publication is Living Your Confirmation (SPCK, 2012).