College has started again and its all change. We have welcomed 38 new students along with spouses ( should that be spice??) and children. That's 10 more ordinands than in the combined 2nd and 3rd years and as a result it feels very overwhelming! I started to reflect about small churches who are suddenly inundated with new families. It may be what we have prayed for and worked for but when they arrive it can be very daunting. There's a sense of wanting to return to the safety of what we knew before and to stick with our friends where we feel known and understood.
At the same time with a new Director of Worship there have been slight changes to the way we do some of the services. They are only slight changes but there is still a feeling of uncertainty and wanting to hang on to the old. Funnily enough the change that seems hardest to adapt to is really slight. Cuddesdon has grown a tradition of not leaving the worship space until the candles on the altar are extinguished. As this comes after the dismissal of Go in peace to love and serve the Lord: it is liturgically correct to be able to leave as soon as we wish but most of us are waiting for the candles to be snuffed before leaving as we are more comfortable with it. Again this raises issues for me of how we introduce change into congregations, our reasons for doing so and how we actually implement the changes. I think I've suddenly taken a huge leap in understanding and sympathy for those who say "but we've always done it that way!!"