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Thatcham welcomes new Bishop of Reading

Venerable Olivia Graham will be consecrated in November as first female bishop Oxford diocese,

John Garvey

John Garvey

john.garvey@newburynews.co.uk

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Thatcham welcomes new Bishop of Reading

THE Archdeacon of Berkshire has been named as the new Bishop of Reading.

The Venerable Olivia Graham will be consecrated in November as the first female bishop in the Diocese of Oxford, which covers Newbury and West Berskhire.

The mother-of-three will succeed the Rt Rev Andrew Proud who retired from the role in May and she will be consecrated in a service at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on November 19.

The new bishop, who lives in Newbury, worked as an international aid worker before she was ordained in 1997 and has been working in the Diocese of Oxford ever since.

Her appointment had been shrouded in secrecy until the announcement was made just prior to a visit to Thatcham on Monday.

She is the 24th woman to be appointed as a bishop since the Church of England general synod first allowed women to become bishops in 2014, and the Diocese of Oxford’s first.

Speaking in St Mary’s Church, Ven Graham told the Newbury Weekly News: “I’m originally from Kent but I’ve grown to love Berkshire and appreciate the work being done in its churches.

“I want to help make a difference in the world; that’s what I’m here for.”

The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft said: “One of the things that was apparent when we were listening and consulting about the new bishop was that people wanted somebody who really knew what it is like to be in ministry in this part of the world.

“Someone who knew what the pressures and challenges are.

“In this and many other areas, Olivia brings just what we need at this time.

“I am very excited about what Olivia’s appointment means for the diocese.”

Newbury MP Richard Benyon also tweeted a message of congratulations, saying: “Great news that @LiviJGraham has been appointed Bishop of Reading.

“As our current Archdeacon she has shown her exceptional qualities to all who have worked with her. Well done @oxforddiocese.”

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