The Bishop of Norwich announces his retirement
- Credit: Archant
The Bishop of Norwich has announced he is to retire after nearly two decades serving the Diocese of Norwich and a career with the church spanning more than 40 years.
The Rt Rev Graham James, who is currently the longest serving bishop in the Church of England, said it has been 'a privilege and honour' to serve as Bishop of Norwich for nearly 19 years, and that his final service at Norwich Cathedral will be in November.
Bishop Graham said: 'I intend to retire as Bishop of Norwich early next year, and will conclude my public ministry at a service in Norwich Cathedral on Sunday, November 25 2018, the final Sunday of the Christian year.
'I will use the following weeks to draw my involvement with many local organisations and charities to a close, and also to disengage from a number of national responsibilities.
'It's been a privilege and honour to serve as Bishop of Norwich for almost 19 years, and Julie and I will find it hard to leave. We are returning to Cornwall (to Truro) but the Diocese of Norwich and her people will always have a big place in our hearts. Thank you for all your support.
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'Please pray for us as we prepare for this new chapter in our lives, as well as for those who will be responsible for the appointment of my successor. May God continue to bless you and this diocese.'
Bishop Graham, who was ordained in 1975, moved to Norwich at the end of 1999 and was enthroned as Bishop of Norwich on January 29 2000.
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Paying tribute to Bishop Graham's immense contribution to the Diocese of Norwich, the Bishop of Thetford, the Rt Rev Alan Winton said: 'Bishop Graham's ministry and presence in the diocese will be hugely missed by so many people.
'We are fortunate to have been served by a man of such immense gifts and such a tremendous capacity for work and friendship. There are few corners of the life of the diocese where he has not made an impact over almost two decades, and so many people whose lives he has touched and influenced for the better.'
The Dean of Norwich, the Very Rev Jane Hedges, said it has been a tremendous privilege to work alongside Bishop Graham.
She said: 'All who have experienced his preaching and teaching will know that he is an outstandingly gifted speaker, his words always striking just the right note in both a profound and often amusing way.
'We must be one of the happiest staff teams in the Church of England in a diocese in which clergy and laity alike feel cherished and cared for, and this is all down to his strong and supportive leadership.'
The Bishop of Lynn, the Rt Rev Jonathan Meyrick, paid tribute to Bishop Graham's 'down-to-earth wisdom, clear-sighted theological thinking, humour, wit, empathetic kindness and generous hospitality.'
He added: 'It is most evident too how deeply embedded he is across the whole fabric of the county of Norfolk's life, and in the Waveney Valley. It is hard to imagine how a Diocesan Bishop in a diocese like this could have done a more complete job.'
• Bishop Graham's final Sunday in the diocese will be on Sunday, November 25. He will be presiding and preaching at the 10.30am service at Norwich Cathedral and there will be a farewell service for Bishop Graham and his wife Julie at 4pm. All are welcome to either service.
ABOUT BISHOP GRAHAM
Bishop Graham is currently the longest serving bishop in the Church of England.
In February 2018 he celebrated the 25th anniversary of his episcopal consecration, having celebrated 40 years of priesthood in September 2016.
Bishop Graham, who hails from Cornwall, was ordained in Peterborough in 1975. After various roles within the Church of England he was consecrated Bishop of St Germans in 1993. He moved to Norwich at the end of 1999 and was enthroned as Bishop of Norwich on January 29 2000.
He is patron or president of more than 30 organisations. He has been an active member of the House of Lords since 2004, and was invited to join the Lords Select Committee on Communications in 2011. He is the Church of England's lead spokesman on media issues and a regular guest on BBC Radio 4's Thought for the Day. In 2017 he was appointed chair of the independent Paterson Inquiry by the government.
Bishop Graham is married to Julie and the couple have two children.