Back in early November I was asked to write a New Year’s prediction for 2021. I am not a big fan of predictions and so, at first, did not give the request a lot of thought. But, then I began to realize that I did have one confident prediction for the coming year. Here is a version of what I wrote. (This first appeared in The Diocesan Post at

The beginning of a new year is often a time when prophets dust off their skills and try to peer into the future to predict what may lie ahead.

But, who could possibly have predicted at the beginning of 2020, that a year later we would be in the place we find ourselves today? COVID has brought uncertainty, change and challenge in almost every area of life. We should not be surprised that the church has not been spared from this upheaval.

Much that we cherish in so many areas of life has been stripped away. We have lost ways of being together that were strong and nurturing. We have felt the pain of isolation and the absence of the energy of being together for worship. It has been tempting at times to feel overwhelmed.

But, I have been deeply moved and profoundly encouraged, by the determination I see all around me to adapt to the challenge of these days.

I could never have dreamed that I would find myself leading services in which the the “congregation” would be “zoomed” onto a screen, while I conducted the service from an empty building. Who could have thought that in one service, the sermon might be delivered from a parishioner in Mexico, with music from nine musicians scattered around the city, a reader in the church building, prayers offered from another home, and a children’s time filmed in a local park? Who could have imagined drive-around trick-or-treating to parish family homes, do-it-yourself Advent wreathes delivered to families, a virtual Christmas pageant with no one in the building?

These are not things I could have made happen. I have depended for these initiatives on the dedication, skill and talent of a host of creative visionary people in our community. We have been learning and growing together, finding new ways to connect and experimenting with how church might be done in these strange times.

We have not given up seeking to give communal expression to our faith simply because we are not able to meet face to face in the same building. I see abundant evidence that the church is fulfilling Paul’s injunction “of stewards that they be found faithful” (I Corinthians 4:2).

So, based on my experience of the past twelve months, there is one prediction I can make with confidence.

I predict that, at all levels of society and no less in the church, we will continue to meet the challenges that lie ahead with creativity, tenacity, grace, flexibility, determination, openness, and commitment.

In the spirit with which we have met the new realities COVID has forced upon us, I predict we will adapt. We will stay open to the unexpected moving of the Spirit. We will continue to find new ways of embodying our life together. We will carry on bearing witness to the steady stable power of love that is our reason for doing this thing we call “church” whatever it may look like moving forward.