Sometimes to get somewhere you have to change. In my career on the Railways, when a train drew up to its terminal stop, you would hear....
the cry "All change" - you couldn't just sit there - you had to move on, or find yourself in an empty carriage, down some siding going nowhere.
Then there is this joke about change;
When the Bishop was introduced to the senior Churchwarden, he asked "and how long have you been Churchwarden". The warden replied "30 years m'Lord". "Well I bet you have seen many changes in that time." The warden fixed his eyes on the Bishop and replied; "Yes, m'Lord and I've resisted every one of them"!
On Sunday 1st December this year there will be only one Service, a Celebration at Tarrant Hinton at 10.30 am of exactly twenty years since my Induction as Parish Priest. In terms of the Churches in the Benefice, looking at the list of Rectors, I am the longest staying Incumbent in most since the Second World War, and certainly the longest serving Incumbent in all of our Churches from 1950s onward.
However, sooner or later, I will be, as far as this Benefice is concerned "history". Inevitably, there will be change following my retirement, but I feel obliged to prepare the Benefice, at the very least, to be able to face the interregnum. For example, a modest reduction in the number of services needs to be achieved, to ensure patterns of worship, with regular services at each Church can be maintained. This is being prudent, and is a positive move. If the Benefice is to remain after that, then such a pattern of services will make it more attractive to a prospective Incumbent, to enable a proper tally of Sundays off, which I have found in my 20 years to be impossible to achieve.
I can only set a definite date once my retirement housing has been sorted out, but sometime in the next year or so, as sure as night follows day, I will retire - time for both myself and the Benefice to move on!
With God's Blessing, Michael.