Archive for December, 2010

Dec 02 2010

Growing a Sabbatical Heart

Published by under Minister's Musings

The concept of the sabbatical has ancient religious roots. In ancient Judea, the land was left to rest every seventh year, the Sabbatical Year, so that it might regenerate. For us ministers, a sabbatical offers a similar time for rest, reflection, study, and renewal—all of which are essential ingredients for sustained and effective ministry.

My sabbatical begins on Christmas Day, December 25, 2010, and continues through June 26, 2011. I am so grateful for this community’s long tradition of offering its ministers time for spiritual renewal and ministerial growth, while you too, as congregation, get to discover and deepen your gifts for ministry. Your ministerial capacities will expand and be renewed as you truly OWN the Mission and Vision of this beautiful community. Every day of my serving you, I am struck by how blessed we are with talented and committed congregants working together to live out our faith. During the sabbatical, you’ll see how YOU are the ones who can help to create worship, offer each other friendship and care, work for justice, provide programs through which people of all ages can grow and learn, pursue our multicultural vision, provide a radically inclusive welcome for all—and have fun doing it! In short, YOU are the ones making our church dreams a powerful reality. And really, dearly loved community, this is true both when your ministers are on sabbatical AND when we are right here among you!        

We are also blessed with amazing staff and elected leaders, and with a wonderful minister in Rev. Geoff Rimositis, who (for the fourth time in his long ministerial service) will serve as Lead Minister during my sabbatical. You are in good hands! I know I will miss you, and trust that you will miss me—yet I can’t wait to hear about all that we learn and experience while I am away! In the coming months, please do ponder your response to this question: “What is one thing you want me to know about your experiences during the sabbatical?”         

It will take me some time to “grow a sabbatical heart”—to slow down, to remember and explore other sources of joy and fulfillment beyond those that I feel here with you. My plans include resting and reconnecting with sources of spiritual and physical strength that I find in nature, dance, meditation, and other spiritual practices; studying preaching with Unitarian Universalist ministers in February and Spanish in Mexico in March; worshiping at a variety of churches and collecting best practices for multicultural growth. Mostly, though, I hope to open up the space to listen to that still small voice within—and simply to relax and make a major shift in my momentum. I look forward to being surprised and enlivened by what I learn. And I will be bursting with so much to share when I return!         

And I will return, dearly loved community! We are called to be together as we continue this journey of faith. Let us dive into the sabbatical’s Season of Renewal with hope and faith, with curiosity and an intent to learn. And let us return to each other next summer strengthened for the ministry we will share in the years to come!  With profound love and gratitude,  Nancy

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