New Bishop of Norwich is unveiled to the public
The new Bishop of Norwich has been unveiled to the public outside the Forum in Norwich today after Downing Street announced that the Rt Revd Graham Usher, currently Bishop of Dudley, will become the 72nd Bishop.
Bishop Graham, 48, was previously Rector of Hexham in Northumberland, following his time working in Middlesbrough. He has also spent time living and working in Ghana, Africa.
Following the announcement made at a press call outside the Forum in Norwich city centre, Bishop Graham will visit a number of locations within the Diocese this afternoon, including a local housing trust, a primary school garden and outdoor reflective space, a church after-school club run by volunteers, and culminating in a special Evensong at Norwich Cathedral to which everyone is invited.
On his appointment, Bishop Graham said: “It’s a great honour and somewhat daunting to be nominated as Bishop of Norwich. I’m excited to have been called to serve among the people of Norfolk and Waveney as together we seek to live out Jesus Christ’s call to love God and our neighbours.
“A theme of God’s calling in my life is that each new chapter has been to a new and unexpected place. The Diocese of Norwich is equally a new and unexpected place for me, and what a wonderful privilege it is to be called to serve here.
“I see the role of a bishop as encouraging others to live out their faith in Jesus Christ with a generosity of spirit and compassion, bringing people together to serve their neighbours in partnership with others.”
The Acting Bishop of Norwich, the Bishop of Thetford, the Rt Revd Alan Winton said: “As a senior staff team we are delighted with the nomination of Bishop Graham Usher to be the next Bishop of Norwich, and we look forward to welcoming him and his family to their new home in the Diocese.
“The new Bishop Graham brings significant experience, skills and enthusiasm from ministry in York, Newcastle and Worcester Dioceses. We look forward to working with him in supporting and developing the mission and ministry of God’s church here in Norfolk and Waveney. Please pray for Graham and his family as they prepare for their move to Norwich this summer.”
There is an open invitation for all to attend a special Evensong service today at 5.30pm in Norwich Cathedral. Evensong is a short service of evening prayers and music which takes place daily in Norwich Cathedral. Following the service, Bishop Graham will give a blessing and there will be coffee and cake for which those present are welcome to stay.
The appointment has been welcomed by the Catholic Bishop of East Anglia, Rt Rev Alan Hopes, who said: “I am pleased to learn of the appointment of a new bishop for the Anglican Diocese of Norwich. I would like to assure the new Bishop Graham of my prayers and good wishes and those of the people of the Catholic Diocese of East Anglia as he prepares to take up his new ministry. I look forward to working with Bishop Graham as we work and pray for the unity of the Church and for the common good.”
Bishop Graham will be formally enthroned as Bishop of Norwich at Norwich Cathedral in late autumn and he will begin his public ministry in the Diocese of Norwich following this. The date and time of the service, to which all are welcome, will be released in due course.
As Bishop of Dudley since 2014, Bishop Graham has served the people of the Diocese of Worcester, working particularly in the areas of clergy wellbeing and vocation, parish mission weekends and pilgrimage walks, leading on safeguarding, establishing two resourcing churches, and supporting ministry in schools.
He has chaired the Churches’ Housing Association of Dudley and District which provides the women’s refuge, housing for homeless teenagers, and residential support for elderly people who live with long-term mental ill health. Within the civic life of Dudley he has served as Dudley Council’s Independent Person for standards and led the community strand of the ‘Forging Ahead’ vision for Dudley.
Bishop Graham maintains an interest in ecology as a member of the Church of England’s Environmental Working Group and in medical ethics as a board member of the Human Tissue Authority. He is a member of the International Commission for Anglican Orthodox Theological Dialogue. He is a keen beekeeper and regularly tweets @bishopdudley. He has written about spirituality and landscape: Places of Enchantment, Meeting God in Landscapes.
Bishop Graham is married to Rachel, a GP, and they have two teenage children. He studied ecological science at the University of Edinburgh and theology at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, before training for ministry at Westcott House, Cambridge. Following his ordination as a deacon in 1996, he began his ministry in Middlesbrough in the Diocese of York, first as curate at St Mary the Virgin, Nunthorpe, and then as Vicar of Holy Trinity, North Ormesby, a parish with severe levels of social need and child poverty.
In 2004 he became Rector of Hexham in the Diocese of Newcastle and had the additional responsibility of being Area Dean of Hexham between 2006 and 2011. In 2007 he was also appointed Honorary Canon of St Cyprian’s Cathedral in Kumasi, Ghana, the place of his early childhood.
Pictured above is Bishop Graham Usher being unveiled to the public outside the Forum in Norwich at noon today.
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