The Bishop of Sherborne looks a very jolly prelate, radiating bonhomie in every direction. In fact I am tempted to commission a Toby jug of him, so representative is he to look at of a certain type of John Bull Englishman, if not of Falstaffian proportions. But if you look below the surface, even in a necessarily superficial piece such as this, it is apparent that Bishop Graham is both a more complex, and perhaps a less jolly, character than this would indicate.
Graham’s wife, Alison is a psychotherapist, and Hon Sec of the Guild of Psychotherapists in London.
Graham Kings was born on 10 October 1953 in Barkingside, Essex on the eastern outskirts of London. He was educated at Buckhurst Hill County High School and then spent a ‘gap year’ as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 5th Inniskilling Dragoon Guards on a short service commission at Sandhurst. Bishop Graham then studied theology at Hertford College, Oxford, followed by Selwyn College, Cambridge and he studied for a PhD from the University of Utrecht.
He trained for the priesthood at Ridley Hall, Cambridge. Following ordination he served as a curate in Harlesden for four years until, in 1985, he moved to Kenya as a Church Mission Society (CMS) mission partner to teach theology at St Andrew’s College, Kabare (in the foothills of Mount Kenya). In 1992 he returned to Cambridge to become the founding Director of the Henry Martyn Centre for the study of mission and world Christianity and affiliated Lecturer in the Faculty of Divinity of the University.
Dr Kings became vicar of St Mary’s Islington in 2000 where, according to his admiring Boswell on the diocesan website, he quickly made his mark as a forward thinking, innovative teacher and pastor. Crockford’s more prosaically has:
|+KINGS, The Rt Revd Graham Ralph. b 53. Hertf Coll Ox BA77 MA80 Utrecht Univ PhD02. Ridley Hall Cam 78. d 80 p81 c 09. C Harlesden St Mark Lon 80-84; CMS Kenya Rest of the World 85-91; Dir Studies St Andr Inst Kabare 85-88; Vice Prin 89-91; Lect Miss Studies Cam Th Federation 92-00; Overseas Adv Henry Martyn Trust 92-95; Dir Henry Martyn Cen Westmr Coll Cam 95-00; Hon C Cambridge H Trin Ely 92-96; Hon C Chesterton St Andr 96-00; V Islington St MaryLon 00-09; Area Bp Sherborne Sarum from 09; Can and Preb Sarum Cathl from 09.|
He also served with the Bishop of Salisbury on the Liturgical Commission and the Mission Theological Advisory Group of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion Network for Inter-Faith Concerns.
He has a developed media awareness, as evidenced by the summer he led a camel called Cleo from Oxford to Selwyn College Cambridge in an imaginative ploy for the CMS to raise money for education in Kenya.
Amazon shows two books currently in print, Signs and Seasons: A Guide for your Christian Journey (2008) and Offerings from Kenya to Anglicanism: Liturgical Texts and Contexts (2001).
In 2003, Kings co-founded Fulcrum, the online evangelical Anglican journal, and is its theological secretary. The aim of Fulcrum was to ”renew the evangelical centre of the Church of England”. Dr Kings, as he then was, has commented on the creation of personal ordinariates for disaffected traditionalist Anglicans entering the Catholic Church.
When Salisbury diocese voted on the Anglican Covenant (which it rejected), one bishop voted in favour of the Covenant, and one against it. As Bishop Nick Holtam is known to be against the Covenant, it seems a reasonable presumption that Bishop Graham voted in favour. He had written on the need for Anglicans to be homogeneous like grapes, rather than heterogeneous like marbles.
Leap in the dark assessment
Do you remember the Grand Old Duke of York? If the CNC believes that Anglicans consist of grapes in serried ranks, Bishop Graham might be the one to lead them to the top of the hill, and then presumably down again?