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From the Editor: Change is certain

 

Kathy Noble
September-October 2016

It is sometimes said the only certainties are death and taxes. Add one more to the list: change. Small or large, welcome or unwelcome, for the better or for the worse – change is a constant in nearly all of our lives.

We can usually say we are living in a season of change.

Americans are experiencing one of the most turbulent, contentious, divisive political seasons in our history. Change always follows the election of a president. Whether the change is anticipated as positive or negative, things will be different. As United Methodists, we are experiencing the turmoil and uncertainty change brings. As a denomination, we are in the midst of decisions and work that will bring outcomes we do not yet know. Some welcome this season with joy; others weep with equal emotion. In many congregations, change is evident where new people have been preaching for several months or vision and mission are being examined and reworked to meet changing needs – outside as well as inside the church walls.

Experiencing change is difficult. Outcomes are unknown. There is the chaos as change is occurring – moving back and forth between old and new while steps toward change are taken, relationships end and begin and new ways are introduced. Often there is grief at leaving what is familiar, even as one anticipates what can be good in the future. Finally comes the settling in and adapting to the new – and realizing the transition is never complete as even the most carefully thought-out, planned change brings something unanticipated.

"Navigating change" is the theme for this issue of Interpreter. The stories of congregations that are successfully changing will offer hope for your church. So will the profiles of five churches who received One Matters awards this year at their annual conferences. As you read the responses of readers to the "We asked, ...; you said, ...." question, may you find both hope and inspiration for your own life.

And, as you read, may you be reminded of one more constant, one more certainty: the never-ending, abiding and abundant love and grace of God that surround us, which both embrace and go before us.

As you awake each day, hold tight to the words of hymn writer Brian Wren: "This is a day of new beginnings, time to remember and move on. ... Christ is alive, and goes before us to show and share what love can do. This is a day of new beginnings; our God is making all things new." ("This is a Day of New Beginnings," The United Methodist Hymnal, 383)

The Rev. Kathy Noble is editor of Interpreter and Interpreter OnLine.