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Parish life with Bishop Graham

Amongst 104 diary appointments in January and February, Bishop Graham’s visits included confirming at Aylsham, preaching at St Catherine’s College in Cambridge about ‘trees in the Bible’, and licensing clergy at Mundford and Gorleston. He spoke at a supper in Sheringham giving an insight into his role at the Coronation.

In mid-January, he visited Dumfries House in Ayrshire to see the work that The King has been passionately leading about the regeneration of a former industrial area. It is a living example of His Majesty’s sense of balance and harmony, and was helpful for Bishop Graham’s understanding of sustainable development.

As well as having his induction meetings in the House of Lords, Bishop Graham spoke in the Chamber about Biodiversity Net Gain regulations, the humanitarian situation in Gaza, and the importance of banking hubs to combat the impact of bank closures on rural Norfolk communities. In a speech about the UK’s contribution to international development, particularly in relation to the impact of climate change on developing nations, he spoke about his vision for the Communion Forest to conserve, protect and restore habitats.

At the end of January Bishop Graham hosted a delegation of over forty Anglican and Roman Catholic Bishops to Norwich for shared worship, prayer and conversation as well as a pilgrimage to the shrine of St Julian. This was, he said: “time spent together in prayer, building friendships and reflecting together on the Coronation of King Charles III, the Synodical journey and St John Henry Newman.”

February saw the launch of the Bishop’s Lent Appeal supporting water tanks for student homes at Newton Theological College in Papua New Guinea, our link Diocese. Bishop Graham said, “Your donations and fundraising will enable ordinands and their families to thrive, so supporting the next generation of Christian leaders in Papua New Guinea to have the best possible start with their training”. Find out more about the appeal here.

The Norfolk Farming conference was held in early February where Bishop Graham spoke about counting our blessings. He reflected, “farming does ‘depth’ well: both in its literal sense, planting and growing, but in another sense too through the generations that have worked the lands, cared for animals, provided our food and sought to regenerate creation all around them. This is an ancient task linking back to many parables such as the sower who went out to sow seed in thorny ground, along a path and in good soil. As well as the vineyard owner who pruned his vines and the shepherd who left the 99 sheep to look for the one lost one.”

The second half of February included a few days of retreat and then General Synod where Bishop Graham introduced the Land and Nature motion. The motion is a commitment to enhancing biodiversity across all church land including churchyards, glebe and national Church Commissioners’ estates. He commented that he wants our churchyards to be “a place for the living, as well as the dead”.