It feels like we are beginning to emerge from the pandemic into a significantly different world. I see three differences that affect St Martin’s as much as anyone.

The first is we have become hybrid. Many people now take for granted that work can happen at home as much as ‘at work.’ Our worship is livestreamed, and if we even considered desisting there would be howls of protest from the hundreds who join us live and the thousands who check in later. We are aware in a new way of how liberating livestreaming can be for some who are neurodiverse or others who are medically vulnerable or others again who have mobility challenges. Meanwhile some parts of our life – the Nazareth Companions, or compline – look set to be here to stay indefinitely, online only. There’s a genie here that isn’t going to go back in the bottle.

The second is that some issues – the climate emergency most obviously, but also race – have soared to the top of the social agenda, and are set to remain there for our lifetimes. I spoke recently to a venture capitalist who said now every major company must describe its mission in reference to its ecological goals. It’s hard to imagine any recruitment process in future not asking, ‘Have we done enough to make this vacancy open to underrepresented groups?’ Our culture is changing – not as fast as many would like – but for good.

The third is that we’ve become accustomed to fragility. We have no idea if the virus has more Greek letters up its sleeve beyond delta. We don’t know whether travel will become easy again or we will sit beside a stranger on a bus or train without seeing them as a potential health threat. We’re probably not going to know for another six months or more.

Community is changing, the world is changing, and the future is changing – all quicker than we can keep up with. But the things that most matter never change. Those are the things St Martin’s stands for.

Revd Dr Sam Wells