We say hello to the end of the school year – hard to believe it is the end of May. Time for graduations, celebrations, picnics and to say goodbye to our intern David, who has served faithfully, and whom you have faithfully taught, shown him what it means to be a church, the church that is active as community and in its community with love, service and compassion. Our thanks go out to David. Our prayers will be with him as he journeys along in his sense of call to ministry.
As we approach summer it is that time when we often say goodbye to one or two families who move out of the area and welcome new families who move in, and we celebrate the ongoing changing face of our congregation, new faces offer new challenges, new resources, new opportunities, new growth, new initiatives and entrepreneurial spirit. We are also grateful for the longevity, continuity, consistency within this congregation. What great folks you all are!
In January, the Session approved my request for a three month sabbatical. So including study leave, vacation and sabbatical, I will be away from June 1- September 30. I plan to volunteer teaching, study, retreat and hike in Palestine for the bulk of the time, and read, visit churches, rest and bicycle the remaining time, as well as having a glass of wine or two with Nancy. I can’t believe it has been 10 years since my last sabbatical when I worked on my doctor of ministry, writing and finalizing my dissertation for San Francisco Theological Seminary.
Purpose of Sabbatical is as follows:
1. Provide continue spiritual growth, renewal and rededication to ministry at St. John’s.
2. Discern the pulse of the rapidly changing parish ministry.
3. Provide the congregation and staff the opportunity to find renewal and growth, as well as allowing the congregation the opportunity to discover more of its own autonomous leadership skills.
4. Renew the sense of the congregation’s call to the pastor’s role and the pastor’s sense of call to the congregation, clarifying the nature and future of the relationship together.
During this sabbatical I hope to send to you regular reports; blogging and sending photos from Palestine. It will, I’m afraid require blogging via my phone, and so it will be a challenge to navigate the technology, let alone get a signal from within Palestine.
Before and during my sabbatical, I will be on study leave in Minneapolis for a preaching conference, in Detroit for the General Assembly, as an advocate for an overture that encourages divestment in 3 companies complicit in violence and denial of human rights through Palestine’s occupation – http://www.pc-biz.org/PC-Biz.WebApp_deploy/(S(adxrvqqk0h4s3fueuk5ubix1))/IOBView.aspx?m=ro&id=4577
and be on vacation, flying from Tel Aviv to Greece to meet Nancy.
I thank you as a congregation, as well as the session, for permitting me to take the sabbatical. I know Theresa really appreciated hers last year and gained much from it. During this time of course Theresa will be responsible for all the pastoral duties that we normally share as co-pastors. If you have any questions about this sabbatical, feel free to contact any session member or myself. Please watch for my blogs!
I look forward to the refreshment of sabbatical, able to return with new vigor and vision, to serve more years at St. John’s, for as long as you will have me. See you October 1st.
With Christ’s’ affection,