One of the little-known rules for new vicars is ‘don’t make any big changes in your first year’! The reasoning is simple – it takes time to get to know a new place, church family, parish and community - so best to hold back on doing anything significantly different until you understand the situation and context better.

So how have my first six months at All Saints gone? Well apart from moving out of the church building whilst major redevelopment and re-ordering takes place, transferring our services to the Clarke Foley Centre, beginning a new monthly ‘4 o’clock church’ service aimed at families with school-aged children on a trial basis (thanks to Fr Kieran for allowing us to use Sacred Heart Church), arranging for All Saints’ weddings and funerals to be held elsewhere, and undertaking significant fundraising activities over Christmas and New Year – nothing much has happened!

However, the pace of change I’ve experienced will not be that different to many other people. We all know that we live in a fast moving and ever-changing world where uncertainty and sometimes anxiety are close by. In the midst of a time of change, it’s a great comfort to find something that doesn’t, something that can be relied upon 100 per cent. Approaching Easter, I find great reassurance in remembering and rejoicing in the two unchanging foundations of the Christian faith, the empty cross and the empty tomb. Together they remind us that Jesus lived, died and rose again so we might know the reality of His unchanging presence in our lives today. It’s a hope captured in a verse in the Bible – ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever’. (Hebrews 13:8)

The verse reassures us that we can always rely on Jesus being there, because He doesn’t change. We can depend on His commitment to us in all things, at all times, in all ways. Though the world changes, circumstances change, people change, and we change, Jesus never does. We can always count on Jesus – past, present, future and into eternity. Whatever changes you are facing at the moment I pray you will know Jesus’ unchanging presence, power and peace. It’s the same prayer I have for myself because there’s still a few months to go of my first year, and given the changes in the first seven months, anything could happen.