THE NEW Bishop of Dudley has said he is honoured and delighted to be taking on the role.
The Rev Canon Graham Usher was announced as the replacement for long-serving Rev David Walker by Downing Street this week.
The 43-year-old 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, Rev Canon Usher 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.”
Before moving to Hexham, Rev Canon Usher was vicar of a parish in Middlesbrough which is in one of England’s two per cent most deprived communities, where he chaired the neighbourhood management group and developed an 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 also served as Area Dean while at Hexham.
The Bishop of Worcester, the Rt Rev 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.”
Rev Canon Usher will be ordained bishop at St Paul’s Cathedral on March 25 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, May 3 and he will be installed as an Honorary Canon of Worcester in the Cathedral at 4pm on Sunday, May 4.