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Facing change - stepping into the new normal 

Rather than rush into the ‘new normal’ and firmly shut the door on what has gone before, it’s essential to take time to reflect on what we’ve been through. Sharon Lanfear of the Ugly Duckling Company introduces a new resource that enables us to do just that

TT4ChangeOver the coming weeks and months, with the possibilities of physically meeting up again with others, there’s going to be so much that we’ll all need to work through together. For some people, significant changes may have led them to ponder some of the big questions about life. As the Bishop of Tonbridge, the Rt Revd Simon Burton-Jones, recently commented; “As restrictions are lifted, we need to hit the road……listening.”
Change can be difficult to deal with, and while some people seem to be better at embracing it, when it comes to a change that is out of our control, such as a global pandemic, it can be more challenging for us to understand what is happening and adjust. The unexpected storm of Covid-19 hit over a year ago, and along with it came an unprecedented amount of change. From tiers to lockdowns, restrictions, grief, job losses and home-schooling, the last 12 months has been an ever-changing landscape. The one thing that we can say for sure is that since Lockdown 1 was announced in March 2020, all of us have had to adapt to some element of change.
As we have navigated our way through the changes we’ve encountered, we have probably experienced various feelings. There have been days when we have felt ok, and others where we have felt the opposite. And there have been days where we have experienced every possible feeling within the first couple of hours! A quick google search will lead you to models of change and outline various stages. A model from mindtools.com outlines four stages –

  • Shock and Disorientation
  • Anger and other emotional responses
  • Coming to terms with the ‘new normal’
  • Acceptance and moving forward. 

Just like with the stages of grief, these stages are not always linear. There’s no quick fix; we might stay in one stage or move on to the next one in haste and then regress. To progress through these stages successfully, we need to give ourselves time to reflect, readjust, recover, and refocus.

Table Talk for Change is a ‘Mini’ set of 18 question cards that have been developed to provide opportunities to reflect on what we’ve all been through over the last year. They provide a tool, as well as an opportunity, to create space with people in our churches, leadership teams, homegroups, communities, and homes for meaningful and authentic conversations about how we are feeling as we start looking to the future. The pack has also been developed so it can be used to reflect following any major event where significant change is experienced (not just the pandemic), so it will continue to be useful beyond our current circumstances.
Rather than rush into the ‘new normal’ and firmly shut the door on what has gone before, it’s essential to take time to reflect on what we’ve been through, acknowledge how we’re feeling and look to what’s ahead. Table Talk for Change is a useful tool to help with this as it uses questions that focus on the past, present and future.

Table Talk for Change is available now for £4. When you purchase a set, you will also get instant access to an online version of the game which can be used on your tablet or smartphone. Further details can be found at uglyducklingresources.org/products/table-talk-for-change

Sharon Lanfear is director of the Ugly Duckling Company. Lee Johnson, a regional minister with London Baptists, worked with the Ugly Duckling Company to create this new resource 


Baptist Times, 11/05/2021
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