Bishop Graham enthroned at Norwich Cathedral
A welcome service and enthronement of Bishop Graham was held on November 9 at Norwich Cathedral. The new bishop comes to Norfolk with a passion for encouraging people to flourish in their faith. Helen Baldry reports
Bishop Graham is the seventy-second Bishop of Norwich. The his enthronement service, he was placed into the bishop’s seat by the Archdeacon of Canterbury and anointed for ministry. The cathedral was at full capacity as Christian leaders, members of other faiths and civic leaders attended the welcome service. Local school children with lighted candles accompanied his journey around the cathedral.
Bishop Graham is quickly getting acquainted with the local area and the local Christian community. He is already a subscriber to the Network Norfolk website! He said, “It’s good! Full of really useful information.”
The desire to see the wider Christian community working together is something that Bishop Graham values. He said, “I think it’s essential that Christian churches work together to share the gospel. I think we’re in a new era of ecumenical relations at the moment. If you look at the history of ecumenism, a lot of it has been about reports, covenants and structures, and actually in the last ten or fifteen years, what we’ve seen is more ecumenical mission, rather than more ecumenical structures and covenants.
“We see Christians coming together to provide foodbanks, to provide debt counselling and support, to contribute in their communities to make life transformed for people. Also sharing evangelism together, realising that there are riches in each of our traditions to be shared.”
In his previous role as Bishop of Dudley, Bishop Graham worked with many people and organisations from outside the diocese and a number of them are making the journey to Norfolk to be there for his enthronement.
As he comes to Norfolk, Bishop Graham is committed to supporting people. He said, “I’m particularly keen on charitable work that supports human flourishing, so whether that’s with refugees, with homeless people, with those living in poverty or destitution, those are certainly an area that I would want to prioritise.”
Bishop Graham is also a champion of environmental projects. A beekeeper himself, he is passionate about ways to care for God’s creation and the planet. Pollinated in Dudley and made in Norwich, hundreds of individual honey cakes baked using honey from Bishop Graham’s bees will be served as refreshments after the service.
When asked about the role of the media in our lives and as a way of communicating, Bishop Graham said, “The media is incredibly important in our lives both to transmit news and to celebrate events and life in our communities but also to shine a light on places where there is darkness, where actually we need to expose and bring into the light.” He also talked about the damage caused by deeply divisive headlines and how the media can polarise society and cause community tensions.
He talked about how Jesus was gossiped about, and false allegations were made against him, yet Jesus stood for truth. “When we’re close to Jesus, we are close to truth.”
Bishop Graham seems not to be a fan of strategies and schemes as he feels this has all been done before and people are exhausted by it. His desire is to be faithful to God and he brings this wish into his new role as Bishop of Norwich, which he considers to be a great privilege. He believes he comes with huge inadequacies and knows that he needs to lean more closely into God.
He said: “What I do come with is a passion to help people capture in their imagination something about the life of Jesus Christ. The Best decision anyone could make is to become a follower of Jesus Christ. As a follower of Jesus Christ we bring transformation to our communities. For me, that’s being faithful to the gospel.”
Pictured above: Rt Revd Graham Usher having his final fitting for the Cathedral’s historic Birkbeck Cope ahead of the enthronement service on Saturday. Photo by Bill Smith