Bishop of Berwick’s title is resurrected

After an absence of more than 400 years, a new Bishop of Berwick has been appointed.

Canon Mark Tanner takes a title created in 1537 for the first Bishop of Berwick, Thomas Sparke, but left unoccupied since his death in 1572.

The resurrection of the title was proposed by Frank White when he retired as assistant bishop of Newcastle.

The post is for a suffragan bishop, but in practice, there will be little difference between that role and that of a full-time assistant bishop, with Canon Tanner sharing the work and ministry of the Bishop of Newcastle, Christine Hardman, across a diocese framed by the Tyne and Tweed.

Bishop Mark, who will live near Morpeth, 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.”

He was consecrated in the role by the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, in a service at York Minster last week.

Dr 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.”

Bishop Christine, appointed last year, 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.”

Bishop Mark will be welcomed to the diocese of Newcastle at the city’s St Nicholas’s Cathedral at 11am on Saturday, December 3, and at St Aidan’s Church at Bamburgh at 2.30pm on Sunday, December 4.