Thank you to our 150 church schools open for children of key workers over Easter

Around 150 schools across the diocese of Bath and Wells are staying open at weekends and over the Easter holidays, to support front line staff. Many more are hosting Easter clubs and others are continuing to provide online activities for children at home during lockdown.

Yatton School which is open throughout Easter, also offered to open at weekends. Only one pupil needed a place so the school will be open just for him. Paulton and Timsbury parishes are among the many providing online assemblies for schools.

Meanwhile at Fosse Federation of Schools, they are keeping a diary of life at the Federation during the pandemic. There are all sorts of entries; quotes from parents and children, Governor comments, drawings, prayers, photos, poems and a whole page of rainbows.

Each week children of key workers are creating a page illustrating what’s happening at school, whilst children not in school are also doing a page on what life is like at home. Parents, staff and Governors are joining in too,“Thank you for all your hard work and dedication at this difficult time, we really appreciate it.”

Toyah Bainbridge is the teacher co ordinating the diary: “It has meant that people are looking out for the positives every day, even if it’s just something really little. They are seeking out the really little things that are happening, appreciating them and sharing them with others.”

During school break they’ll be setting Easter and Springtime challenges which will be shared in the collective space.

Bishop Ruth, who is the Vice Chair of the Diocesan Board of Education (DBE), has written to Headteachers, Chair’s of Governors, Multi Academy Trust CEO’s and Trust Chairs offering words of support and encouragement during the Coronavirus (Covid 19) crisis. The letter reads;

As we begin this Holy Week, I am very conscious that this would have been for many of you, the beginning of your Easter break. However, the world has turned upside down and I know you are continuing to care for the children in your school even at the expense of your personal holiday. Many of you are doing this by keeping your schools open for key worker families, others are encouraging, teaching and walking alongside children from a distance and via a whole range of media we could never have dreamed of before!

So, a huge ‘THANK YOU’ to you for such creativity, wisdom and strength, through this challenging time. I think you, and your team, are amazing!

Holy Week is a time when we mark some of the most significant events of the Christian story, walking with Jesus from Palm Sunday through to Easter day. It started with crowds welcoming him into the city of Jerusalem, something that we find difficult to imagine this year as we see our empty streets and we are unable to meet together in larger gatherings. And then during the course of the week, the mood changes and the crowd turns and begins to call for Jesus to die. It is hard to understand such a quick change of opinion and yet during this coronavirus situation we have seen how society has responded to a whole chain of events across the world and been shaped by current concerns.

Many of us feel the loss of the opportunities to meet with our own families and friends and for some there is very real concern and pain for our nearest and dearest who are vulnerable. We can feel helpless. Perhaps it can be some comfort to remember Christ’s own sense of impotence as he faced his own death in that Garden of Gethsemane, feeling deprived of the company of his friends.

This year we are unable to hold some of the Easter holiday activities for children that our GO team and churches around the diocese would often do to complement the teaching you offer in your school. However, there are some excellent resources available on our diocesan website and you may find them helpful both for your school and for personal use for yourselves at home.

Good Friday tells the story of Jesus’ death on the cross for love of us. A difficult and dark day which ultimately however leads into the joy of the resurrection story of hope on Easter Sunday. Sometimes however we can forget the day between, Holy Saturday as it is known. A day of waiting, of uncertainty and fear, as the disciples wondered what was going on and tried to make sense of their world.

Our ‘Holy Saturday’ during this crisis may be longer than any of us first imagined, however we know that the hope of Resurrection will come. This Easter as Christ walked the way of the cross for love of us may we walk with him in our fear and in our hope.

With my grateful thanks for you and your families and with heartfelt prayers

Bishop Ruth


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