Graham Usher to be next Bishop of Dudley
Downing Street has today announced that the Revd Canon Graham Usher will become the next Bishop of Dudley.
Graham, 43, was ordained in 1996 and is currently Rector and Lecturer of Hexham Abbey in the Diocese of Newcastle. Prior to this he worked in inner city Teesside and has also spent time living and working in Ghana, Africa.
On his appointment, Graham said:
"I am honoured, delighted and not a little daunted to have been asked to become the next Bishop of Dudley. I am greatly looking forward to getting to know the people and places of the Black Country and the wider Diocese of Worcester, as well as working with and learning from Bishop John, the clergy and people of the Diocese.
Together I believe that we have an incredible story to tell as we share the life of Jesus and, in partnership with others, look to ways to daily bring God's love, justice and peace to the communities we serve."
The Bishop of Worcester, the Rt Revd Dr. John Inge, said:
"I am absolutely delighted about the appointment of Graham Usher as the next Bishop of Dudley. He is an exceptionally able priest who, though relatively young to become a bishop, has very considerable ministerial experience, both rural and urban.
Before becoming the Rector of Hexham Abbey, a very major parish church which he has led into growth, he ministered to some of the poorest in our country on Teesside. Throughout his ministry he has made a significant contribution to the welfare of wider society. This is a very exciting appointment and I look forward greatly to working with him for the good of the people of the Diocese of Worcester."
The Bishop of Newcastle, the Rt Revd Martin Wharton said:
"I am delighted that the wider Church has recognised the gifts and qualities of Canon Graham Usher, who has served the people of Hexham and the ministry of Hexham Abbey superbly well over the last nine years.
He will move to be Bishop of Dudley with our gratitude for all that he has given to the life of this Diocese, and we assure him, together with Rachel and their children, of our prayers and very best wishes."
Graham has been Rector and Lecturer of Hexham since 2004. In that time, the congregation has grown and links have been developed to support an area of regeneration and a domestic violence charity, to open a foodbank for West Northumberland, and provide 2000 children visiting the Abbey each year with tailor made activity days linked to the National Curriculum.
The Abbey has recently reunited its former monastic buildings taken from it by Henry VIII, and having raised £3.2m is currently developing a new visitor centre, refectory, education rooms and meeting spaces.
Before moving to Hexham, Graham was vicar of a parish in Middlesbrough which is in one of England's 2% most deprived communities, where he chaired the neighbourhood management group and developed an innovative arts based project to divert young people from crime.
Alongside his parish work, Graham currently chairs the Northeast Forestry and Woodlands Advisory Committee of the Forestry Commission, and is a Secretary of State appointee on the Northumberland National Park Authority. He has served as Area Dean while at Hexham.
Graham will be ordained bishop at St Paul's Cathedral on 25 March and be will begin his public ministry in the Diocese of Worcester after Easter.
There will be a service of welcome at St Thomas's Church, Dudley at 4pm on Saturday 3 May and he will be installed as an Honorary Canon of Worcester in the Cathedral at 4pm on Sunday 4 May.
The Diocese of Worcester is one of 44 dioceses in the Church of England. It covers an area of 671 square miles and includes parishes in the County of Worcestershire, the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley, and a few parishes in northern Gloucestershire, south east Wolverhampton and Sandwell.
From: Sam Setchell, Press Officer for the Diocese of Worcester and the Bishop of Worcester
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