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Next Bishop of Norwich announced

Friday 3 May 2019
Downing Street has today announced that the Rt Revd Graham Usher will become the 72nd Bishop of Norwich.

Bishop Graham, 48, is currently the Bishop of Dudley.  Prior to this he was 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, Bishop Graham will visit a number of places around the Diocese, including visits to 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."

At the conclusion of today’s visits around the diocese, 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 at which Bishop Graham will give a blessing, there will be coffee and cake for which those present are welcome to stay.

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.

You can watch his initial remarks following the announcement on YouTube at https://youtu.be/tycJgGJAqhs, where he talks about the awe-inspiring Christian faith, the Christ-like humility we seek as Christians, and the calling of the Church to offer all that it can in love.  “I’m looking forward to leading a diocese that seeks, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to inspire the imagination of more people, especially the young, about the Christian faith.”

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.

Speaking about the appointment, the Dean of Norwich, the Very Revd Jane Hedges said:

"On behalf of the whole Cathedral community I am delighted to hear of the appointment of our new Bishop and we very much look forward to getting to know him and his family and to working with him. We hope he will feel very welcome here in the Diocese of Norwich."

The Diocesan Secretary (Chief Executive), Richard Butler DL said:

"We are delighted with the news of the appointment of the next Bishop of Norwich. We look to welcoming Bishop Graham to this fine county and Diocese, and we will be praying for him and his family as they make preparations to move here."

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