A team of Bishops from the Diocese of Guildford (DOG) are returning to the Guildford Triathlon for a second year to raise money for the Bishop of Guildford’s Community Fund (BGCF).
Back in 2018, DOG’s John McCabe came up with the idea of hosting an annual “Bishop’s Triathlon” in order to raise money for the BGCF – which exists to reach out to disadvantaged and vulnerable people across the DOG in the name of Christ. A team of 5 completed 2018’s sprint distance triathlon, but this year a team of 22 will be taking part – many of whom will be “tri-ing” triathlon for the first time. Emma Wilson – a member of the team – said: “I’ve always wanted to do a triathlon, and now here we are!”
The whole team have been training together every Tuesday at the Guildford Lido throughout the last couple of months. Bishop Jo Wells is just one of a few members who has been learning to swim in order to complete the challenge. She reported that she felt “entirely terrified” but like Robbie Withers – who is also a new swimmer – she has had the support of the whole team throughout training.
John McCabe said: “Bishop Jo has been amazing to have in my squad – she’s been a dynamo of positive energy. Like Robbie and Emma, her swimming has improved beyond measure and I am proud to compete alongside her.”
The Diocese of Guildford covers most of Surrey and parts of North East Hampshire and is generally regarded as an affluent part of the country. Across the communities, however, there are areas of real deprivation, made all the more challenging by the relative wealth of those who live nearby.
Many of the churches are already engaged in a range of community-based projects reaching into those areas and inspired by Jesus’ own commitment to the least, the last and the lost. The BGCF is there to give them a helping hand, both with start-up grants and ongoing support. The Fund gives grants to a range of community projects including those which:
- Support people with disabilities and mental ill-health
- Provide facilities and services for older citizens, children and young people
- Support families and disadvantaged communities
- Provide practical help for the financially challenged
- Offer training and skills programmes