This is the first post in our new blog. It is going live along with a new Twitter account – and a new website.. Starting something new is a scary business. New school, new business, new place, new job, new blog.. Will I get it right?  Will people be interested/ stimulated/ surprised or annoyed by it/me? (What would I need to say to annoy you?).

Just now there are quite a few ‘new’ things going on – not just at St George’s, where we are waiting and praying for a new Vicar – but in the Diocese as a whole – where today we were pleased to share the good news of the consecration of the Bishop of Berwick, Rt Revd Mark Tanner. He has just stepped into a job which no one has done for more than 400 years, since 1572! So no-one can tell him how his predecessor did it.. But it must still be a bit overwhelming. Anyway, I can safely report that Bishop Mark is not stuck back in the 16th century – when our first foray into Tweeting was to warmly welcome him to the Diocese, he became our very first follower!

In the wider city, there are lots of ‘new’ students, though some have been around since mid September, and probably feel like old hands! Some – or maybe its the not so new – live in Jesmond, and can be seen at West Jesmond Station making their way into the city strangely dressed on Wednesday nights (or maybe that was just last week?) I don’t know that there is a right way to go on the toon – though I’m sure many worry about it, as they also worry about fitting in! Most seemed oblivious to me and a few other travellers engulfed by the crowd. Luckily we were interested rather than annoyed.. but also concerned for a few… Perhaps one for the Jesmond Street Pastors to consider when they are able.

Nationally, we could probably still call the government new-ish – at least much of this cabinet and the Prime Minister, but as they roll out their ideas through party conference and media interviews, it seems they may be immune to the scariness of ‘new’. And it occurs to me that perhaps the scariness of ‘new’ is a safety mechanism. When we worry about what we are doing, we consider how it might look to other people, what impact our words or actions will have. That can stop us from being brave, but it can also stop us from hurting ourselves or others. When we become over confident – or ignore those around us, there it the potential at least for people to get hurt.

But new beginnings offer us all new opportunities – chances for creativity and hope as well as risk. Over the next year we will as individuals, as a church and as a community experience many new situations – engage with many new people – start new developments. I pray that in them all we will find ways to encourage and reach out to others, looking forward to a flourishing future.