Around a thousand people gathered at Newcastle Cathedral to celebrate the inauguration of the Right Reverend Dr Helen-Ann Hartley as the 13th Bishop of Newcastle.
Bishop Helen-Ann, formerly Bishop of Ripon in the Diocese of Leeds, succeeds the Right Reverend Christine Hardman who retired in October 2021.
The Rt Revd Arun Arora, Bishop of Kirkstall was with those attending from across Newcastle Diocese, with Church of England bishops, leaders from other faiths, and civic and political leaders from across the North East.
Former Olympic athlete and founder of the Great North Run Sir Brendan Foster gave a scripture reading and pupils from Archbishop Runcie Church of England First School led Bishop Helen-Ann through the Cathedral accompanied by Northumbria Pipers, Robson’s Choice. Those present received a chocolate bar from Tony’s Chocolonely, which is committed to ending slavery in the chocolate industry, in a wrapper designed by pupils from Duke’s Secondary School in Ashington.
Bishop Helen-Ann said: “I am very excited indeed that my inauguration service has finally arrived. Although it has felt like a long time waiting for it, I am very grateful for the opportunity this has given me to settle into our new home and to begin the process of getting to know our wonderful Diocese of Newcastle.
“For the Church of England, place and identity matter. We are ordered in such a way that we rejoice in being a Christian presence in every community and the Church does an awful lot that is good, much of which goes unseen. As I come into this new role as Bishop of Newcastle, I am coming home to a region I grew up in and which nurtured and encouraged my own faith in Jesus. Jesus taught his friends, the disciples to notice things, to look out for the lost, last, and least, and above all to show the light and love of God, the God who loves us unconditionally.
“From coast to countryside, city to village, resource church, Abbey and Cathedral, and countless ministry contexts, parishes and chaplaincies, I rejoice in the good news of the Kingdom of God that is being proclaimed and lived out in so many ways. I’m looking forward to working with all of you in this new season. Please continue to pray for me, as I pray for you. Thanks be to God!”
The Right Reverend Mark Wroe, Bishop of Berwick, said: “This is a joyful and significant moment for our Diocese as we welcome Bishop Helen-Ann as our thirteenth Bishop of Newcastle.”
Image courtesy of Newcastle Diocese.