Greetings in the name of our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ,
As most of you know I will be starting my sabbatical on June 27th. To that end, I wanted to start a series of articles that further explain sabbatical concepts as well as hopes and dreams for me and the parish. I also will address responsibilities of those in my absence and how you will continue to be cared for in times of need.
The word sabbatical has its roots in the biblical concept of Sabbath ("to rest" or "to cease".) Sabbath keeping is setting aside time that God consecrates and makes holy.
Sabbatical leave is a time for the priest to shift gears in order to rest, disengage, study, reflect, and travel in order to return to minister among you refreshed and renewed in body, mind, and spirit. (It is not the time for routine work, mid-career assessment, job search, retirement planning, or terminal leave.)
My letter of agreement with All Saints specifies that I will take a sabbatical within the first five to seven years of his service. Since I have been with you just four years you may be asking, why now? A rational question answered by my Letter of Agreement that gave me a two year credit towards sabbatical due to my four years at a my previous call without sabbatical.
Sabbatical is more than a vacation from meetings, budgets, sermons, and people in need. It is a time for me to receive spiritual nourishment and a change in perspective, to deepen my relationship with God, myself, and my family - essentially, a season of spiritual growth. This special time will also be a season growth for all of All Saints.
Sabbaticals can be challenging times for a parish as the rhythm seems different. Rest assured that the Vestry and I have been doing much planning and there are many things in store for you during my time away. With God engaged through prayer and study and love of one another we will both return from this sabbatical refreshed and engaged to continue the furtherment of the Kingdom of God in this corner of God's creation.
I will write more in the following weeks and ask for your prayers as time draws near.
See ya Sunday!