The new Bishop of Dudley has been ordained and consecrated by The Most Reverend Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, at a service in St Paul’s. The Reverend Canon Graham Usher (OP 81-89) officially became Right Reverend at the service of Eucharist on Tuesday 25 March 2014. Formerly the Rector and Lecturer of Hexham in the Diocese of Newcastle, Graham is now Suffragan Bishop of Dudley in the Diocese of Worcester.
Former Head of Art, Peter Edwards (80-13), attended the service and wrote the following report about this special occasion:
THE ORDINATION AND CONSECRATION OF THE REVEREND CANON GRAHAM BARHAM USHER
Tuesday 25 March 2014 at St Paul’s Cathedral
Whilst an Art Teacher at Pocklington School, I taught many pupils with a real talent for the subject. Thirty years ago, Graham Usher was a student: hardworking and with a natural gift for Art.
Upon retirement he wrote to me, in his position as Rector of Hexham Abbey, telling me he still had an interest in Art; seeing the landscape as a perfect place to encounter God.
Some months later, he invited my wife and I to his ordination service at St Paul’s Cathedral. He was to become the Bishop of Dudley.
On Tuesday 25March we arrived at the main West entrance really looking forward to the ceremony, although not quite knowing what to expect. Whilst being shown to our seats I asked a verger how many Bishops were being consecrated; his answer: “Just one.” We realised then what a privilege it was to have been invited to such an important occasion in Graham’s life and ,albeit indirectly, in Pocklington School’s history.
The ceremony was memorable with the 300 strong congregation captured by the symbolism, beautiful music and responses which echoed around the dome of St Paul’s. One wonderful touch being the opening piece, “Flourish for a wedding”, composed by Sefton Cottom (1928-2011), a former Head of Music at Pocklington.
The Archbishop of Canterbury led the Service, supported by many other Bishops, Deacons and clergy. The Reverend Canon Dr Dagmar Winter talked of Graham’s work with the underprivileged in his previous parishes both at home and abroad, acknowledging these strengths which they wished him to continue and develop in his new role, particularly with multi faith communities.
The symbolism of his Shepherd’s Crook, made by Neville Straker from Northumberland, and the Episcopal Ring, donated by the parishioners from Hexham Abbey, reflected his desire to re-use / recycle natural resources. It was clear to see that Graham was respected for his warm, outgoing personality and his ability to communicate with all members of society.
After the service which lasted just short of 2 hours, we emerged to the peeling of bells onto the steps of St Paul’s, where he greeted guests and received congratulations, with passers-by joining in the momentous occasion.
He will no doubt make a wonderful humanitarian Bishop, but whilst we talked, I still saw the young lad whom I taught 30 years beforehand.