New Bishop of Norwich reveals priorities and passions
In an exclusive interview with Network Norfolk, the new Bishop of Norwich, Bishop Graham Usher, spoke about his passion for social action, ecumenical relations, ecology, medical ethics and the adventure that awaits him in his new role. Keith Morris reports.
Speaking to Network Norfolk, Bishop Graham said: “I am really looking forward to getting to know the life of the city of Norwich and the wider life of Norfolk and Waveney.
“Throughout my ministry God has called me to surprising and new places, so each time I have been called somewhere new there has been a sense of adventure about it. So I am excited about that and also daunted by the task ahead but really looking forward to getting to know the people and places of the diocese.
Explaining his first priorities for the role, which he starts in the autumn, Bishop Graham said: “The first thing I need to do it listen and listen well and see and see well. I have a lot to learn.
“But there are some priorities around loving God and loving our neighbour and if we can build on those two great commandments of Jesus Christ we won’t be going too far wrong.
“How do we share the awe-inspiring story of Jesus Christ with more people, particularly young people and encourage the life of our churches so that if love God we will be loving our neighbour. And how we can encourage our churches to do so – and they are doing a huge amount already – to truly serve our neighbours and communities and therefore to bring the transformation of the Gospel into many, many different places."
Bishop Graham also stressed his ecumenical credentials: "Throughout my ministry I have worked very closely with ecumenical colleagues both as a parish priest and as a bishop. I am very involved in Dudley in ecumenical projects which seeks to welcome refugees into our community, the foodbank in Dudley and a women’s refuge.”
Talking about his passion for the environment, Bishop Graham said: “I am an ecologist by background, so ecology and care for the planet is a very deep concern for me. How we live well on this planet we call home and how we live out that God-given trust in us to be good stewards of the amazing creation. So I will want to try to promote that and look at ways in which we can reduce our impact upon the planet.
Bishop Graham’s wife Rachel is a GP and he has a keen interest in medical ethics: “ I am a non-executive member of the Human Tissue Authority which regulates the post-mortem sector and mortuaries as well as the use of human tissues in research and living human organ transplantations and I hope I have the time to keep on being involved with that,” he said.
Read our earlier article on Bishop Graham.
Pictured top are Bishop Graham and Rachel Usher outside the Forum in Norwich. Picture courtesy of Diocese of Norwich.