Bishop of Berwick role is revived

Canon Mark Tanner and his wife Lindsay at Berwick Station.

Canon Mark Tanner and his wife Lindsay at Berwick Station.

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The ancient title of Bishop of Berwick will be resurrected for the first time in more than 400 years today.

The Reverend Canon Mark Tanner will be consecrated to serve as Suffragan Bishop of Berwick in the Diocese of Newcastle by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, in a service beginning at 11am in York Minster.

The appointment of Mark Tanner, formerly Warden of Cranmer Hall and Vice Principal of St John’s College, Durham University, follows the retirement at the end of September of the Right Reverend Frank White who had served as Assistant Bishop of Newcastle since 2010.

He will be presented to the Archbishop by the Bishop of Newcastle, the Right Reverend Christine Hardman, and the Bishop of Durham, the Right Reverend Paul Butler. The preacher will be The Revd Dr Emma Ineson QHC, Principal of Trinity College Bristol.

The Venerable Mark Ashcroft will also be consecrated to serve as Bishop of Bolton in the Diocese of Manchester.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, said, “Mark is a gifted theological educator, a nurturer of the gifting of others, and a joyful and winsome witness to Jesus Christ. He and Bishop Christine will make a remarkable team in the Diocese of Newcastle.”

The Bishop of Newcastle, the Right Reverend Christine Hardman, said, “I know that Mark will be a great blessing to the whole Diocese of Newcastle. He brings a wonderful range of experience in ministry and is a person of great insight, integrity and warmth. I am looking forward tremendously to our work together as we face the exciting challenge in this Diocese of growing the Church and sharing the depth of God’s love in ways that bring hope and touch the reality of people’s lives.”

Mark said, “It is such a delight to be invited to serve the people, communities, and churches of the Diocese of Newcastle. For 444 years there has not been a Bishop of Berwick; the revival of the post is a wonderful sign of hope and life! God and His church are alive and well, and the message of Jesus continues to transform lives, grow community, and bring hope today. God has so much for each of us in Christ, and I look forward to all that we will explore together.”

Mark will be presented with two gifts from the Diocese of Newcastle: a pastoral staff (the traditional bishop’s ‘crozier’ symbolising a shepherd’s care for a flock) made by the Reverend Steve Wilkinson, Priest in Charge of Humshaugh with Simonburn and Wark in Northumberland, and a pectoral cross (worn by bishops on a chain around the neck) based on the Cross of St Cuthbert.

Mark’s episcopal ring has been crafted by Andrew Ashcroft at Croft Jewellers in Durham and is a simple band shaped to resemble to point of a mitre (a bishop’s hat) with a raised depiction of St Cuthbert’s cross surrounding a tiny amethyst.

Bishop Mark will be welcomed to the Diocese of Newcastle in Services of Inauguration and Welcome at St Nicholas Cathedral, Newcastle, at 11am on Saturday, December 3, and in the Parish Church of St Aidan, Bamburgh, at 2.30pm on Sunday, December 4.