9th August 2023

My father was very reluctant to change. This was apparent in his rejection of foods which came into our diet post-1945, (probably including anything he had not had as a lad!). No yoghurt, no pasta of any kind, no rice unless in a rice pudding etc and definitely NO GARLIC!

On the other hand, I have worked where a new manager has decided immediately to change administrative systems which worked well just so that they could put on their C.V. that they had “successfully implemented a new and more effective system for…” Since there was no obvious measure of the effectiveness of either system their claim might or might not be true.

I imagine you have met both scenarios. Too little change, too much change and in both cases not much consideration for others.

Churches have always had to face change. Returning to the food, we read in Acts of Peter’s agonising over whether Gentile Christians had to observe Jewish dietary laws. Eventually he decided that the Holy Spirit was telling him that all food was acceptable and he should change his mind. I don’t expect he found it easy.

In our Baptist Church tradition, we rely on the church meeting to help us to find our way forward. We are not just voting as if it is a tennis club AGM or a Women’s Institute AGM. We are to discuss matters and pray for guidance to help us to discern which way God wants us to go. And we have to expect and accept that sometimes the Holy Spirit is pushing us in a direction that we, personally, are not keen to go.

Margaret Clements