Message from Bishop Robert, 12 March 2024

Published: Tuesday March 12, 2024

Bishop Robert

The ministry of a Bishop, like that of all Church of England ministers, is never just about what happens in church, but by its nature shares a calling to connect our faith and worship with the wider life of the community, the places where God in Jesus Christ comes to dwell and for which Jesus dies and rises.

That’s why I am especially pleased as part of my calling as Bishop of Tewkesbury to be a member and Vice Chair of the Council of the University of Gloucestershire. The university has campuses in Cheltenham and in Gloucester, and a new City Centre Campus which is currently being built in the old Gloucester Debenhams building.

It is, I believe, one of the jewels of our county, although sometimes overlooked, which is why I would love us to celebrate it more. It contributes to growing our economy, forming our communities and shaping our future, as well as being a gift to all those places from which our students come and to which they will go.

The University has both civic roots, notably the Mechanics Institutes in Cheltenham and Gloucester, and Church roots, in teacher training. Today, it is very much a multi-disciplined, modern university, with a diverse community of some 12,500 students from our local region, across the UK and across the world.  The University offers a range of qualifications from undergraduate and postgraduate degrees to apprenticeships.  These are served by some 1,500 staff, led with extraordinary inspiration by our newly appointed Vice Chancellor Clare Marchant, and including a small chaplaincy team led by one of our clergy, Simon Witcombe. Find out more.

The University’s vision is ‘Changing your world, so you can change ours,with the intention to:

  • transform the lives of students so they are ready to be a force for good in the world
  • make the community and world a better place
  • be leaders and pioneers for sustainability.

These goals make the university a powerful expression of our vision as the Church in this diocese, as together we seek to promote ‘Life in all its fullness’. I am deeply grateful for the many expressions of partnership we enjoy, including the Foundation Fellows and those between the university, the Cathedral and education, with plenty of potential for more.

The University provides many opportunities where people of many different backgrounds can play a part in service to the communities we care for.

Perhaps it is time to take a fresh look both at the University and at what new ministries God might be calling you to explore?

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