Bishop's letter: What a joy!

28th June 2023

Bishop Michael with schoolchildren

‘In response to God’s immense love for us we seek to be God’s people living and telling the story of Jesus.’ In conversations with people from around the diocese about our vision in recent months, we have talked of all the different ways that we can serve the communities in which we are based - how we can enable the life of the whole of the people of God.

One of the community connections that many of our churches nurture is with their local school, in particular with our church schools where day in, day out teachers and their support staff reflect God’s love and teachings with the pupils in their care. As rewarding as that role is, it is a tough one. The long summer holiday may be in sight but anyone who knows a teacher or member of school staff will tell you how much that is needed as well as how much work is done during that ‘break’. They truly need our support and love and prayers. We should also give thanks for those working in our schools during the summer, cleaning, building, or preparing for the new academic year.

Not all of us are blessed with the gifts to teach, but many of us have other gifts that can help our school communities. For some it is the gift of storytelling, sharing the teachings of Jesus as an Open the Book volunteer, others serve as chaplains. Some will simply live out their Christian faith by volunteering in classrooms or in the playground or by praying regularly for the school community. All of these roles are valuable to our schools, and rewarding for those who fulfil them.

What our schools and Academy Trusts need in particular are governors and trustees. There are many opportunities, especially for foundation governors and trustees who have a distinct responsibility for championing the Christian character of our schools. That may sound daunting, but that responsibility isn’t held alone as there is support locally and from our excellent diocesan education team. And if you do take on that role, what a joy to know that you are playing your part to support and nurture our young people in the way of our Lord who said, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 3 John 1:4.

Bishop Michael

This letter was first featured in the July edition of the Manna mailing.

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