Olivia Graham named Bishop of Reading


15 July 2019 – the Queen has approved the appointment of the Venerable Olivia Graham, the Archdeacon of Berkshire, as the next Bishop of Reading.

Olivia Graham at Christ Church Cathedral


Olivia at Christ Church Cathedral. Photo: Steven Buckley 

The Bishop of Oxford announced the news during a visit to Ranelagh School in Bracknell, where students had an opportunity to ask Olivia questions. Their visit was followed by a reception at Reading Minster.

Responding to today’s announcement, 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.”

Olivia’s early career was spent in teaching and international development, including a period working for Oxfam in Somalia. Ordained in 1997, she has served all of her ministry in the Diocese of Oxford, becoming Archdeacon of Berkshire in 2013.

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.”

Olivia will succeed the Rt Revd Andrew Proud who retired from the role at the start of May this year. She will be consecrated in a service at St Paul’s Cathedral on 19 November.

Notes for editors
(updated following the announcement)

  • Brief biographical details below
  • When Olivia is consecrated in November, she will become 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.
  • High resolution photographs available on request
  • Scroll down for a film of Olivia talking with Bishop Steven
  • A short documentary film from the day of the announcement is also available
  • For interview requests, please contact Steven Buckley on 07824 906839 or WhatsApp message.

Key dates and other information

  • Olivia will be consecrated at St Pauls 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.
  • The Revd Canon Stephen Pullin will be Acting Archdeacon of Berkshire from 1 September and until there is a new archdeacon in post.
  • Information relating to the appointments process.
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.
This is an older post. Please note that the information may not be accurate anymore.