Our national, three tikanga seminary is the College of St John the Evangelist, situated in Meadowbank, Auckland. Commonly it's known as 'St John's College' or just 'the College'. Confusingly, because of its three tikanga character, it contains within it three constituent colleges, Te Rau Kahikatea (Maori), the College of Polynesia, and the College of the Southern Cross (Pakeha). The last-named has recently installed a new dean, Jim White.
During this year Jim has been working from his position of leadership to introduce some changes to the College. Back on the menu (so to speak) are community lunches (with good hot food). Re-timed is the College weekly eucharist, 11 am on Wednesday's to flow contiguously into lunch. Thus much restored are aspects of student and staff community life whose loss (for various reasons over the past years, mainly due to the complexities of lecture timetables at Auckland university) has been much lamented.
I have been at a meeting at the College these past few days and have been the recipient not only of the new lunch blessings, but also of a brand new approach to hospitality, with the group I was part of treated to a College dinner with staff on Wednesday night. Never has this group been so welcomed and so royally treated in the nine years I have been part of it!
There is more ... the eucharist on Wednesday morning (the second I have attended this year) shows small but significant signs of attention to detail leading to a new standard of consistency with the rubrics of our prayer book. Personally I take much heart from the faithfulness of these services to the contents of our prayer book. (Theological colleges sometimes work on an 'experimental' or 'cutting edge' approach to liturgy which may have its place in the overall scheme of things, but which can confuse ordinands as to what the liturgical standards of their church actually expect of them when in parish ministry!)
These changes illustrate that leadership can make significant difference to an institution. Now, what else in our church needs changing ...?