Bishop of Norwich 'gutted' after testing positive for Covid during Holy Week

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham Usher. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham Usher - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

The Bishop of Norwich is to miss some Easter services and events this week after testing positive for Covid.

The Rt Revd Graham Usher announced the news on Twitter on Sunday and expressed his disappointment at having to miss some planned engagements, saying it would be "a different Holy Week".

The bishop, who has mild symptoms, is currently self-isolating while he continues to work from home.

He tweeted that he was "gutted" to not be able to attend the Diocese of Norwich's Chrism Eucharist on Monday and to also no longer be able to wash the feet of prisoners at Norwich Prison on Maundy Thursday.

A Diocese of Norwich spokesperson said: "Bishop Graham has been testing regularly for Covid and, having not caught it since the beginning of the pandemic, he tested positive on Palm Sunday.

"Colleagues are stepping in for some engagements, whilst some events have moved to Zoom, including a lecture which he was to have given in Durham.

"To miss Holy Week, including the Christ Eucharist, a special service in Norwich Cathedral with clergy and ministers from across the diocese, is particularly hard.

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"Bishop Graham will test throughout the week and, depending whether he tests negative for two consecutive days, may take part in services to celebrate the joy of Easter Day.

"His key priority is not to put anyone else at risk and he remains very grateful for the success of the vaccines in saving many lives."

It comes after the bishop recorded an Easter video message along with the Bishop of Lynn and the Bishop of Thetford inviting people back to onsite church meetings on Easter Sunday.

In the video, he said: "We hope that this Easter will be a time to come together again, where possible, to celebrate and rejoice in church."

Responding to his tweets, people have expressed their well wishes to him for a speedy recovery.

James Ridge, chaplain general of HM Prison and Probation Service, said: "Very sorry to hear this - hope you have a swift recovery. The prisoners at HMP Norwich will miss your visit."

Rev Tracy Jessop said: "We prayed for you this morning in Bure Valley Churches. Hoping your infection is mild and your Holy Week blessed. Take care."