The Rt Revd Graham James says:
“I intend to retire as Bishop of Norwich early next year, and will conclude my public ministry at a service in Norwich Cathedral on Sunday 25 November 2018, the final Sunday of the Christian year.
“I will use the following weeks to draw my involvement with many local organisations and charities to a close, and also to disengage from a number of national responsibilities.
“It's been a privilege and honour to serve as Bishop of Norwich for almost 19 years, and Julie and I will find it hard to leave. We are returning to Cornwall (to Truro) but the Diocese of Norwich and her people will always have a big place in our hearts. Thank you for all your support.
“Please pray for us as we prepare for this new chapter in our lives, as well as for those who will be responsible for the appointment of my successor.
“May God continue to bless you and this diocese.
“The news of Bishop Graham’s plans for retirement later this year inevitably brings with it some mixed emotions. No-one could possibly begrudge Bishop Graham and Julie a very well-earned and well-deserved retirement. However, his ministry and their presence in the diocese will be hugely missed by so many people.
“We are fortunate to have been served by a man of such immense gifts and such a tremendous capacity for work and friendship. There are few corners of the life of the diocese where he has not made an impact over almost two decades, and so many people whose lives he has touched and influenced for the better.
“Bishop Graham has been widely known and appreciated as an excellent preacher and communicator and as someone to whom many turned for advice and wise counsel. The generous hospitality offered at Bishop’s House by Bishop Graham and Julie has helped foster extensive friendships within and beyond the church. The Diocese of Norwich is rightly proud of a bishop who has made such a significant contribution to the wider church and country, not least as a Member of the House of Lords for these last 14 years, and currently in his chairing of the Paterson Inquiry.
“For over 40 years, Bishop Graham has served God faithfully, first as priest, and then as bishop, and he has been tireless in commending his faith to others. We hold him and Julie in our prayers for these final months with us as they prepare for what we hope and pray will be the happiest of retirements.”
Bishop Graham will be presiding and preaching on his final Sunday of public ministry in the Diocese at 10.30 on Sunday 25 November at the Sung Eucharist in Norwich Cathedral. There will also be a Farewell Evensong for Bishop Graham and Julie at 4pm.
All are welcome to either service as we say thank you and pray God’s blessing upon them.
The process for appointing a new Bishop of Norwich will, in due course, follow nationally agreed guidelines. The Bishop of Thetford will shortly be writing to all clergy explaining the next steps in a little more detail, and that letter will be available to all on the Diocesan website or by request from Diocesan House.
Speaking about the announcement, the Bishop of Thetford, the Rt Revd Alan Winton adds: