Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. Genesis 2:3
Sabbatical. It is a word I probably think about more than most people. Its roots are in the creation story: God took a Sabbath rest after 6 days of creation. In the church today, and applied to clergy like me, it refers to a time for pastors, usually in the 7th year of a call, to take a break from the unique stresses and time demands of ministry. More than an extended vacation, it is a time of intentional renewal and created space so God can replenish the soul. It’s designed so pastors can stay healthy, remain faithful, and stay longer.
I do think about sabbatical, and even though my 3 month sabbatical will not be until summer 2021 (the beginning of my 7th year- can you believe it?), we’re already doing some planning. I say WE, because as a congregation, guided by the Session, we are applying to the Lilly Foundation for a Clergy Renewal grant. The grant, up to $50,000 to be used by the pastor and the congregation, is intended to be used to support renewal activities for both congregation and pastor. It has us thinking questions like:
–In that three month period, what activities can be planned for me and my family that will enable me to return with renewed energy, intelligence, imagination, and love?
–In my absence, how can Westminster find ways to renew congregational health and vitality?
It’s been a fun grant proposal to work on, requiring prayer, imagination, and vision for Westminster’s future. In the next few weeks, I’ll share more of the details in the ENews, and I welcome conversations along the way.
Yours in Christ,