This may sound like a contradiction, but think about how constant change is. Very, very few things remain the same all the time. Presidents change, the economy changes, relationships change, jobs change, and on and on. I've been reading a fascinating book by William Bridges in which he argues there is a difference between a change and a transition. A change, he argues, can be a move from San Francisco to New York City. It happens and it's over. One day you have a California address and the next you have a New York address. But what is not instant is the transition. How long before New York becomes "home" and San Francisco becomes a former residence? The same is true with any change; there is an obvious difference at first but there is always a transition from old ways of thinking, feeling, and acting into new ways. And many times it's the transition that is harder than the change.
I'm sure this won't be the last time I mention this, not only because our lives are always in change and transition, but as your new rector we are currently in a transition. The change has been made – that took place on June 1. Now we are in the transition.
Bridges says there are three phases: 1) the ending, losing, and letting go, 2) the neutral zone, and 3) the new beginning. What is fascinating is that he says the neutral zone, that time when things aren't the way they used to be but we aren't really in a new pattern of thought, feeling, and action, is when the creative energy takes place.
That's exciting. The in-between time – from where we are ending, losing, and letting go and the new beginning is the time of discovery, excitement, and creativity! Bridges was thinking about corporations, but I think it applies perfectly for individuals and yes, even churches.
Are you in a period of transition? Behind the stress and the uncertainty is the potential for creative energy. Take advantage of it!
Fr. Steve Rice
Rector, St Timothy's Episcopal Church