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Synod: Farewell

21 November 2014

THE Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, paid tribute to the Rt Revd Martyn Wharton, who is retiring as Bishop of Newcastle. "He is loved in Newcastle diocese as a friend, a pastor, and a visitor to clergy and laity alike. His wife had always visited new clergy on moving in, and would often pop her head around the study door to tell visiting clergy that they were staying for lunch."

Bishop Wharton had made a "very significant contribution to public life both nationally and in the diocese"; he had served as vice-president of Newcastle Community Foundation, and was a "strong advocate for Newcastle and Northumbria".

He had introduced a "collaborative and non-hierarchical culture in the diocese, deploying teams and task groups to get jobs done"; and had seen a two-per-cent increase in attendance across the diocese between 2000 and 2010.

As one of the longest-serving bishops in the House of Lords, Bishop Wharton had "highlighted a wide range of issues from a northern perspective, from mesothelioma to the concern of landlords over immigration reforms; and, in 2008, ahead of the pack, he was speaking in support of credit unions."

Dr Sentamu said that, as "the last of the Smoking Bishops", he could often be found in Black Rod's garden, availing himself of the smoking shelter; and that "when taking one of his 'fresh-air breaks', he once managed to get himself locked out of his own diocesan synod".

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