A former Teesside Vicar has been appointed the 72nd Bishop of Norwich following the retirement of the Right Reverend Graham James.

The Right Reverend Graham Usher, 48, is currently the Bishop of Dudley in the Diocese of Worcester. Prior to this he was Rector of Hexham in Northumberland from 2004 to 2014, following his time as Vicar of Holy Trinity, North Ormesby, Middlesbrough in the Diocese of York, from 1999 to 2004. His first post after ordination in York Minster was as Curate of Nunthorpe from 1996 to 1999, and he has also spent time living and working in Ghana, Africa.

On his appointment, Graham Usher 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 of Thetford and Acting Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd 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.

“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.”

Graham Usher will be inaugurated 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.

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

See www.dioceseofnorwich.org