Graham Usher (bishop)
|Bishop of Norwich|
|Church||Church of England|
|Diocese||Diocese of Norwich|
|In office||17 June 2019 – present|
|Other posts||Bishop of Dudley (March 2014 – June 2019)|
|Consecration||25 March 2014|
by Justin Welby
|Birth name||Graham Barham Usher|
|Born||11 September 1970|
|Alma mater||University of Edinburgh|
Corpus Christi College, Cambridge
Graham Barham Usher (born 11 September 1970) is an Anglican bishop and ecologist. Since 2019, he has been the Bishop of Norwich; he had previously served as Bishop of Dudley, a suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Worcester.
Usher was born on 11 September 1970. He was baptised by Douglas Sargent, the then Bishop of Selby. His early years were spent living in Ghana. Between 1981 and 1989, he was educated at Pocklington School, an independent school in Pocklington, Yorkshire. He studied ecological science at the University of Edinburgh, graduating with a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in 1993. He then attended the University of Cambridge where he studied theology at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in 1995; this degree was later promoted to Master of Arts (MA Cantab), as per tradition. Following the completion of his theology studies, he trained for the priesthood at Westcott House, Cambridge, and St. Nicholas Theological Seminary in Ghana.
Usher was ordained in the Church of England as a deacon in 1996 and as a priest in 1997. He was then a curate at St Mary the Virgin, Nunthorpe, Middlesbrough, from 1996 to 1999. While serving his curacy, he was also worked with young offenders as a chaplain at HM Prison Northallerton. He was Vicar of North Ormesby, Middlesbrough between 1999 and 2004. The area is very poor and is in the top two percent of deprived areas in England.
He was rector and lecturer of Hexham Abbey for ten years from 2004 to 2014. Hexham Abbey is a large parish church that can be described as cathedral-like. During his time as rector, the congregation grew and he supported the setting up of a food bank covering West Northumberland. He also reunited the abbey with its monastic buildings, the buildings having been separated during the Reformation, raising £3.2M to fully refurbish the building and create a stunning new cloister, refectory, conference and meeting rooms, and a state of the art exhibition about the Abbey's history. In 2009, he undertook a visit to Rome with the men and boys of the Hexham Abbey Choir. They had been invited to sing at a mass in St. Peter's Basilica, in celebration of the 1300th anniversary of the death of St Wilfrid. In addition to his parish duties, he was Area Dean of Hexham from 2006 to 2011. He was appointed an Honorary Canon of Kumasi in Ghana, the place of his early childhood, in 2007.
On 12 December 2013, it was announced that he was to become the next Bishop of Dudley. He was consecrated on 25 March 2014 by Archbishop Justin Welby at St Paul's Cathedral, London. He was 43 at his appointment, making him the one of the youngest of the current Church of England bishops and the first to have been born in the 1970s.
On 3 May 2019, Graham was announced as the next Bishop of Norwich, the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Norwich. His election was confirmed on 17 June 2019 at St Mary-le-Bow. He will be enthroned as the 72nd Bishop of Norwich in late autumn.
Having completed an undergraduate degree in ecology, Usher continues to have interest in the field. Between 2008 and 2010, he was a member of the Forestry Commission’s Regional Advisory Committee (RAC) for the North East of England. In 2010, he was appointed chairman of the North East RAC. In December 2013, the Regional Advisory Committees changed name to become the Forestry and Woodlands Advisory Committees (FWACs). He continued as chair of the new North East FWAC. He stood down from his role with the Forestry commission following the announcement that he would be joining the episcopate and leaving the North East.
In April 2009, he was appointed a member of the Northumberland National Park Authority by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. In April 2013, he was re-appointed by the Secretary of State to the Northumberland National Park Authority, his previous term having ended, but resigned when he moved from the North East.
In 2012, he contributed an article for the website of the Diocese of Newcastle concerning Ash dieback in the UK. Also in 2012, he published a book titled Places of Enchantment: Meeting God in landscapes. The book concerns the relationship between people, God and the environment; particularly people experiencing God in the natural world, rather than through organised religion such as church services.
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- "From winter, plague and pestilence, good Lord, deliver us!". News & Updates. The Diocese of Newcastle. 19 November 2012. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
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