Bishop Simon - A message to school leavers

With schools set to close today, Friday 20 March, Bishop Simon Burton-Jones, the Bishop of Tonbridge and lead bishop for Schools in the Diocese of Rochester, shares a message to school leavers and those who care for them.

Speaking directly to them and their families, in his message - recorded as a podcast -  Bishop Simon speaks to the difficult feelings that many will be feeling today:

"Goodbyes come in different shapes – poignant, awkward, moving, perfunctory.  The ones we fear are sudden, emotional, unplanned.  We feel cheated.  There’s no shape to them, nothing crafted to remember them by. "

He goes on:

"Today, a cohort of school leavers are waking up to this farewell.  Deprived of the purpose and dignity of the end of year rites of passage that shaped every generation before them, they will leave school dazed and a little fearful."

Looking ahead with hope, however, he continues:

"At their most careless, adults don’t perceive the depths in the heart of a child.  But they are there.  So today, we want to say to those leaving their school, probably for a final time and in a rush:

Be confident.  Be kind.  Share hope.  Show your gifting.  God loves you with an everlasting love.

What you feel you’re losing today will be re-shaped within you and made into something that lasts.  You won’t be forgotten and your voice will be heard."

The Diocesan Board of Education, has sent out substantial amounts of collective worship resources to all 90 Church of England schools in the Diocese - which covers Medway, north and west Kent and the London Boroughs of Bromley and Bexley - to help them to manage the ‘goodbye’ today.

They have also support schools with worship materials which address Covid-19.

Hear Bishop Simon's message in full here or read it here

A prayer:

There are 90 Church of England schools within the Rochester Diocesan Family of Schools (RDFS) who give a Christian education through the state sector to 27,524 children aged from 4 to 19. We have a growing number of community schools who have close links to the diocese through our Affiliation Scheme. Find our more at:

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