Olivia Graham consecrated as Bishop of Reading

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19 November 2019 – Olivia Graham consecrated as Bishop of Reading

Laying on of hands as Bishop Olivia is consecrated

Graham Lacdao/St Paul’s Cathedral

Olivia will be welcomed to the Diocese of Oxford at a service to take place at Reading Minster on 23 November

The Rt Revd Olivia Graham has been consecrated as the Bishop of Reading at a special service at St Paul’s Cathedral in London. Olivia was consecrated alongside The Rt Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin, who was made Bishop of Dover.

Olivia is the first female Bishop in the Diocese of Oxford, one of the largest dioceses in the Church of England. With 170 churches in the Reading Episcopal Area, she will now oversee an area larger than many other dioceses. Rose will serve as the suffragan Bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury, the oldest diocese in England with 327 churches and 103 church schools. She comes to the role from nine years as Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons.

Speaking earlier this year, Olivia said; “I am delighted and energised to have been called to an episcopal role. It is a tremendous opportunity to bring together my passions for the Church and the wider world – for example, to be able to encourage greater engagement between our church communities and secondary schools. The young people I encounter in our schools are serious and engaged with the world. We need to see how we can offer the resources of faith at a crucial time in their lives.”

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.”

The Archbishop of York delivered the sermon at the consecration, saying “Rose and Olivia, you will continue receiving and seeing sacred truths of revelation as you become simple and trusting like infants, for to such as these the Lord opens up the treasures of wisdom and insight. Please Lord, let Rose, let Olivia, let me, be one among them. As new Bishops in the Church of God, be challenged constantly by what we heard the Apostle Paul say to his Philippian friends.”

Notes for editors

  • Brief biographical details below
  • Photos from the day can be downloaded for press use here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/ZNX3LpZWmB5RdiyA9 all photos caption:Graham Lacdao/St Paul’s Cathedral’
  • Olivia is the 24th female bishop in the Church of England and the first female bishop in the Diocese of Oxford.
  • The future is bright. Just over half (54%) of those entering training for ordination last year were women.
  • Scroll down for a film of Olivia talking with Bishop Steven about her faith formation
  • A short documentary film from the day of the announcement is also available.
  • For interview requests, please contact Steven Buckley on 07824 906839.

Key information

  • Olivia was consecrated at St Paul’s Cathedral on 19 November
  • Bishop Olivia will be welcomed to the Diocese at a service to take place at Reading Minster, 3pm 23 November. She begins her public ministry from that date. All are welcome to attend.
About the Diocese of Oxford and the Reading Episcopal Area
  • The Diocese of Oxford is one of the largest Dioceses in the Church of England.
  • The Diocese of Oxford is divided into four ‘Episcopal Areas’, each overseen by their own Area Bishop.
  • The Reading Episcopal Area is larger than many dioceses in the Church of England. It extends from west Berkshire along the M4 corridor to Windsor encompassing very rural areas and large centres of population.
  • There are 170 churches in the Area, 70% of which are involved in social action. The Church is also the largest provider of out of school support for children and young people in Berkshire.
About Olivia
  • Olivia is married to Keith and they have three adult children. She is passionate about social justice and the interface the church has with the wider world.
  • In June this year she accompanied other faith leaders calling for government action on climate change and participated in the Mass Lobby of Parliament.
  • Olivia has also led the work on Flourishing in Ministry, a set of resources and a leadership approach that supports clergy to develop a healthy rhythm of prayer, work and rest.
  • 1974-1981 Volunteer teacher and schools worker, Kenya
  • 1984-1993 Overseas relief and development worker
  • 1997 Ordained Deacon
  • 1997-1998 Non-stipendiary minister, GARSINGTON
  • 1998-2001 Curate, PRINCES RISBOROUGH
  • 2001-2007 Team Vicar, BURNHAM (St Peter)
  • 2007-2013 Parish Development Adviser
  • 2012- Hon Canon, Christ Church Cathedral
  • 2013 – Archdeacon of Berkshire

Bishop Steven in conversation with Olivia

In a special edition of the My Extraordinary Family podcast Olivia talks about her Christian formation, a surprising response from the Church to her as a curate with a new baby , and her hopes for episcopal ministry. This film can be embedded on your site.