By the time you are reading this, I will officially be on Sabbatical! While some plans are quite firm, others are a little more fluid, which will allow for any needed flexibility for any variety of factors, as well as following the lead of the Spirit in seeking rest and renewal. That being said, here is an overview of my summer plans and focus.
This will be a time of rest and renewal for me and the congregation! This summer the congregation will focus on one of our foundational documents, “What is God Saying to Trinity?” The sabbatical period will be an opportunity to listen and respond, inspired by a great slate of guest preachers.
To fully honor the sabbatical time and purpose, it’s necessary for me to step away completely from the pastoral work at Trinity. One of the difficult boundaries that we will honor together is this time away, even in the events of sickness, death, and other potential crises. We are so blessed to have Gwen with us to provide continuity of care and leadership in my absence. Gwen will preside at funerals, and along with the Pastoral Care team - and indeed the whole congregation - offer care and compassionate support.
Know that in struggle and loss, I will be grieving with you all, including the loss of journeying with the congregation at those particularly difficult times. My absence and lack of communication is not a sign of lack of love and care on my part, and I’m so grateful for the gift of this entire community of faith, that cares for one another so well.
On a practical note, starting June 1, my auto-response will be activated on my email. I will not be checking church email during my sabbatical. Following the wisdom of colleagues who have taken recent sabbaticals, I also plan to archive, without reading, all emails sent to me from June 1-August 31. Many email systems allow you to schedule sending emails, so if you have an email that you want me to read, please schedule it to send, or plan to send it, after September 1. When I’m gone for even a week, I return to hundreds of emails that have accumulated in my absence. It takes a lot of time and energy to sift through and respond to those, and I’m always afraid something important will get lost in the process. Also, none of us want my best post-sabbatical energy going into email!
If we do run into each other over the summer, we can share friendly greetings, and I appreciate your support in honoring the boundary of refraining from church or pastoral care talk. If I don’t acknowledge you, it’s just because I don’t see you! I’ll be happy to say hi if I do.
Please do know that my love and prayers are with you this summer, and I appreciate that yours are with me and my family. We will miss you, even as we look forward to this much needed time for rest and renewal. I look forward to sharing more with you in the days, weeks, and months after I return, just as I look forward to hearing about the discernment you all will be doing this summer. Peace be with you, and I’ll see you in September!
Grace and Peace,