A personal message from Bishop Jo Bailey Wells.

This past week has seen schools and offices re-opening – including Church House Guildford – enabling friends and colleagues to function in-person. The joys are palpable! Even socially-distanced, even without the slippers we grew to love, we are better together.

Among our 83 church schools across the diocese, there is one that has opened for the first time – St Jude’s Infants School. The story there is a further journey of togetherness, where two smaller neighbouring schools (Christ Church Infants, Virginia Water and Englefield Green Infants) agreed to close in order to be re-born as one. What began as collaboration has reached agreement for unity, not least for the sake of greater sustainability. Better together!

I wonder where and how you might reach out and in the present time? Many of us are struggling – at home, at work or in our churches – and I hear the cry, ‘Please don’t ask for more’. But if we claim to have discovered the value of community during the pandemic, I might want to push back: togetherness is about  we function, not what we do. It’s about sharing so we’re not in this alone. It’s about collaboration so we’re stronger. It’s about partnership because that is how God has chosen to function in working out the divine purposes… when surely God could indeed manage just fine without choosing to work with and through us!

It is nearly always easier to opt out from engaging with others. But the Kingdom of God is built in community, where strangers become colleagues, friends become family and well-being is shared. Better together!