Embracing change – by Archdeacon Nikki

At the end of September, I fell and badly broke my shoulder. A momentary lack of concentration whilst running massively changed many aspects of my daily life in a year which had already been so difficult and strange. It has been challenging – though the fact that much of life is still virtual means that not being able to drive is less of a problem than it normally would be.

So much I took for granted about life has changed. I have had to adapt to doing life one-handed, and am very reliant on the help of others for the simplest of tasks – my lovely mum even had to help me get dressed for the first week.

Change is also very much part of our shared landscape at the moment. Following on from our second round of open conversations, we have encouraged everyone across the Diocese to reflect on what needs to change in our churches so they can be healthier and more sustainable – communities where we are growing as Kingdom People. I wonder where you are on this change journey.

I know many are beginning to engage in local discussions, thinking about ways to do things differently, sharing suggestions for new models of ministry. Churches across Worcestershire and Dudley have already demonstrated remarkable adaptability and resilience this year as we have navigated the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on much of what we took for granted in church life. Holy Week and Easter services moved rapidly online in those early days, none of us thinking for a moment that we would still be having to rethink our normal patterns of worship for advent and Christmas. We have been in a constant state of change and flux, and it feels hard to put energy into beginning to reimagine a future with yet more change.

If there is one thing I have learned through the autumn, it’s that with a broken shoulder I need to swallow my pride and seek the support of others for the simplest of tasks. Because I can’t run I have been trying to walk with people each day – but everyone who comes walking with me has to first tie my boot laces!

Change of any kind is easier when others do it with us. Across our diocese, our churches will need to change in the year ahead to flourish and become all God made them to be in these challenging times, but we are in this together. Please do contact us as archdeacons if we can support you in your thinking and planning. And if ideas are bubbling up and we are allowed to do so, I’m very happy to ponder them with any of you during a socially-distanced winter walk around Droitwich, if you do up my laces first!

Advent is a season of new beginnings. Let’s embrace the opportunity to share hope that 2021 will be a year of exciting possibilities, and may we all know God’s comfort and joy as 2020 draws to a close.

Nikki Groarke
Archdeacon of Dudley

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