THE BISHOP of Durham will say farewell to his North East flock at a service on Monday evening.
The service of farewell, thanks and celebration is to be held at Durham Cathedral by the Diocese of Durham for The Right Rev Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham and Archbishop of Canterbury Elect.
The service from 7.30pm will be the last public appearance of Bishop Justin in the diocese before he receives legal title as Archbishop of Canterbury.
Bishop Justin will cease to be Bishop of Durham and will have legal title bestowed on him as Archbishop of Canterbury at noon on February 4 at a formal service in St Paul’s Cathedral in London.
At this point, he becomes the Archbishop of Canterbury – until then he remains Bishop of Durham.
His public ministry will be inaugurated at an enthronement service at Canterbury Cathedral on March 21.
During the enthronement service, he will be placed on two thrones – the diocesan throne as Bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury, and the chair of St Augustine, as Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Farewell service for Bishop Justin and his wife Caroline is expected to draw a large congregation from across the diocese and the region and will also be attended by the Lord Lieutenant of Durham, Sir Paul Nicholson.
Two weeks ago, senior clergy and lay people from the Diocese of Canterbury took part in a medieval tradition to confirm Bishop Justin as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury-elect.
The 35-strong College of Canons met at Canterbury Cathedral’s 14th-century Chapter House to take part in the formality, which dates back more than 1,000 years.
The process of electing the next Archbishop of Canterbury by the cathedral community is enshrined within its constitution and can only take place once there has been a royal command.
Only one name featured on the ballot sheet for the College of Canons to select.
As is traditional, the candidate was not invited to attend the ceremony, which was chaired by the Dean of Canterbury, the Very Rev Dr Robert Willis.
The former oil executive, who celebrated his 57th birthday on January 6, was enthroned as Bishop of Durham at the city’s Cathedral on November 26, 2011.
His successor as Bishop of Durham is expected to be announced later this year.