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New Bishop of Norwich has been announced

PUBLISHED: 12:27 03 May 2019 | UPDATED: 15:56 03 May 2019

The new Bishop of Norwich Rt Rev Graham Usher with his wife, Rachel. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The new Bishop of Norwich Rt Rev Graham Usher with his wife, Rachel. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2019

The next Bishop of Norwich has been revealed.

The new Bishop of Norwich Rt Rev Graham Usher is introduced at the Forum. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe new Bishop of Norwich Rt Rev Graham Usher is introduced at the Forum. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Downing Street has announced that the Rt Rev Graham Usher will become the 72nd Bishop of Norwich and succeed the Rt Rev Graham James.

Bishop Graham, 48, is currently the Bishop of Dudley and before this 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 locations within the Diocese this afternoon, including 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.

Bishop Graham. Photo: Tim RogersBishop Graham. Photo: Tim Rogers

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.”

Bishop Graham is married to Rachel, a GP, and they have two teenage children.

Bishop Graham. Photo: Courtesy of Diocese of NorwichBishop Graham. Photo: Courtesy of Diocese of Norwich

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.

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 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.

The acting Bishop of Norwich, the Bishop of Thetford, the Rt Rev 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 of Norwich Rt Rev Graham Usher meeting people outside the Forum. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe new Bishop of Norwich Rt Rev Graham Usher meeting people outside the Forum. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“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.”

The Dean of Norwich, the Very Rev 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, 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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