In his interview with Keith Morris of Network Norfolk, Bishop Graham talked about “Encouraging our churches, who are doing a huge amount already, in so many different ways, to truly serve their neighbours and their communities. To bring the transformation of the gospel into many, many different places.”
ITV Anglia News asked Bishop Graham: “For those of us who aren’t religious – why is it significant that Norwich is getting a new Bishop?” He responded: “Across the Church of England, everywhere is part of a diocese and a diocese is cared for, looked after and encouraged by a diocesan bishop, so being Bishop of Norwich means getting involved with the life of the CofE across the whole of Norfolk and Waveney. One of the great joys of this Diocese is that we have a Christian presence in every community.”
Bishop Graham’s first stop after his media interviews was at St Martin’s homelessness charity in Norwich, visiting their ‘Donation Station’ and talking with Jan Sheldon, Chief Executive Officer and some of their clients. She explained: “Our purpose is to improve the lives of the most vulnerable and increase compassion in our community. A single approach isn’t enough to fit everyone’s needs, which is why we have a diverse range of services, from emergency hostel accommodation to residential care for people with complex needs, to training courses to enable people to build up their skills and self-esteem.”
From there it was back to school for Bishop Graham with a visit to St Peter’s Church of England Primary Academy, Easton. He spent some time with the children in their garden, an outdoor reflective space and woodland area with den building and a mud kitchen. This is an idea close to the Bishop’s heart as he has written a book about spirituality and landscape: “Places of Enchantment, Meeting God in Landscapes”.
He says: “I am an ecologist, by background so ecology and care for the planet is a very deep concern for me, how we live well in this single-island planet we call home. And live out that God-given trust to us to be good stewards of this amazing creation so I will want to try to promote this and look at ways we can reduce our impact on our planet.”
There was just time to meet with some more young people at St Laurence Church, Brundall in the Yare Valley Churches Benefice. Bishop Graham chatted with the 10-14-year-olds at an after-school club that runs weekly in the church rooms. “It’s a major challenge to capture the imagination of more people, particularly young people with the story of Jesus Christ and to enable them to care and support and serve their neighbours. Initiatives such as this are great examples.”
He also discussed rural ministry with The Revd Peter Leech, Rector of the Yare Valley Churches Benefice and joint Rural Dean of Blofield Deanery.
The day ended with a special Evensong at Norwich Cathedral where Bishop Graham gave a blessing followed by a short “Questions and Answer” session with the Dean and Bishop Graham, and a chance to meet and speak with him over tea and coffee afterwards.