Personal experiences are the highlight of Bishop of Norwich’s 40 years in the priesthood
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2015
From the crowd-packed public events, to the private, one-to-one exchanges in people's homes, The Rt Rev Graham James, Bishop of Norwich, has seen it all.
And as he celebrates the 40th anniversary of his ordination, Bishop Graham reflected on his role in the church, and how it had changed over time.
Bishop Graham, 65, said: 'I have never had doubts or regrets about pursuing this vocation though there are times - especially of personal bereavement or difficulty - when public ministry is very challenging.
'The glory of the ordained life is that your work and your faith, your deepest passions and your family life are all interwoven. Who you are and what you do are deeply interconnected. Not everyone is privileged to have that level of integration.'
'That's why I would say to anyone considering whether God and His Church may be calling them to ministry to ask themselves whether they relish linking so closely what they do with who they are and what they believe.
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'Some people like their lives to be rather more compartmentalised. If so, I am not sure the ordained life is for them.'
The Bishop, who has been married to wife Julie since 1978 and has two grown-up children, said it was difficult to know where the years had gone.
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'I look back and look at when I began - feeling fearful of the first funeral. All those things I can remember from 40 years ago.
'The things I treasure the most are the private encounters, trying to comfort some who has just lost their husband, for example.'
'Ministry still matters and even those whose faith is halting and inarticulate continue to respond to it. That's why a priest's life can still be a very fulfilling one indeed'.
There will be a choral Eucharist in place of the normal evensong in the Cathedral at 5.30pm on Monday, September 26, to celebrate. Anyone who wishes to attend will be welcome.