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Bidding farewell to Bishop Graham

Published: 23rd July 2019

Bishop GrahamThe Bishop of Dudley, GrahamUsher, left the diocese at the weekend to become the Bishop of Norwich. Twocelebrations were held in Worcester and Dudley to reflect the role BishopGraham has played throughout the whole diocese, with hundreds attending sayinggoodbye in the Cathedral and at the Black Country Living Museum.

Rachel receiving scarfThere was a special Evensongin Worcester Cathedral on Saturday evening, at the end of which Bishop Johntook back the Bishop of Dudleys crozier which was placed on the altar readyfor the next bishop. Bishop Graham and his wife Rachel were presented with apainting of the Malvern hills, in case they forget what hills look like inNorwich (!) and a scarf made from Beckford silk to protect against the Eastwind.

Bishop Graham preachingIn Worcester, Bishop Grahampreached on the wisdom he has gained from driving the M6 between the bishopshouse in Cradley and Worcester city and quoting the poet R.S. Thomas, talkedabout collecting the pollen of wisdom and having the time to work it intohoney. He said: I am hugely grateful to all of you, for how you have shapedme as a bishop. I came with much to learn. I leave with much to learn about thenext step in this bizarre journey that God is calling me on as I seek, simply,to seek out the pollen of wisdom, looking to Jesus in all that I do and am.

Bishop Graham addressing the crowdThe celebration continued onSunday afternoon with an open air service of praise, prayer and thanksgivingheld in a big top at the Black Country living museum. Colleagues and friendsfrom throughout the Diocese gathered for the final goodbye and to pray for BishopGraham and his wife Rachel. The service was led by Bishop John with worshipprovided by the musicians based at Top Church in Dudley.

Anna Walsh from CHADDBishop Graham preached on theparable of the good Samaritan, which had been read by Anna Walsh, Chief ExecutiveOfficer of the charity CHADD (Churches Housing Association of Dudley andDistrict) of which the Bishop of Dudley is Chair. As well as listing the topten things he will miss about Dudley, Bishop Graham asked the question of whois our neighbour? He said:

Our neighbours are anyone inneed of us. Our neighbours are every person made in the beautiful image of God.Our neighbours are those we have a tendency to label as the other. Ourneighbours are those who inconvenience us and those it would, frankly, makelife a lot easier simply to ignore. Our neighbours are even those we think aredifferent from us. [Thats why] our churches mustnt be clubs for theprivileged few, they must be places that create space to foster being a goodneighbour. They must never be places that put up walls, but always places thatbuild bridges into communities.

Bishop Graham waves goodbyeWere not to pull a fizzog or have a cob on. Dont be ahalf-soaked bab or begin blarting. No more clarting about saying youll get on with it sometime. Loving Godmeans getting out there, sharing our faith, and serving our neighbours boththeir needs and through creating spaces where good conversations can happen. Anduntil we meet again, its just, ta-ra abit.

Rachel & Bishop GrahamAt the end of the service, BishopGraham and Rachel were presented with a number of items to ensure they werefully prepared for life in Norwich, including a Delia Smith cookbook and theNorwich City mascot as well as mementos from Dudley, including a Black Countryflag on a coaster, a piece of Stourbridge glass and a Dudley bug. Afterwards,all those present joined together to enjoy a curry kindly prepared by the AhmadiyyaMuslim community.

Muslim community and other guests

 

 

 


ENDS

The Diocese of Worcester is one of 42 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.
Tel: 01905 20537 Mobile: 07852 302516
Email: ssetchell@cofe-worcester.org.uk
Page last updated: Friday 3rd July 2020 5:18 PM

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