You may have seen the announcement in the Weekly eNews last week that I will soon be leaving on a three-month sabbatical. It is a pleasure and a privilege to have this opportunity to rest, recharge, and refill my cup of inspiration, and I am grateful that this congregation provides such to its ministers. That old-timey picture of the minister in his study reading and writing all day is not much of what happens in my day-to-day work life, what with email and protest rallies and the rest of modern-day life. And yet, there is an essential function of that unscheduled time to learn new things and find time to engage deeply with the things that keep me inspired and grounded.

I will be gone from May 2 through August 6, and during that time I will be dedicating most of my days to making art. It is the foundation of my personal spiritual practice, and central to my vocation as a minister. I also have lots of books I plan to read, squirrelling away inspiration for the next year’s sermons and reflections. It will be a simple time for me, without much travel, spending time with my family and enjoying some unscheduled summer days. I will attend General Assembly in the middle, since I am Co-Chair of the Right Relationship Team, and will participate in the Service of the Living Tradition honoring ministers who have attained Final Fellowship.

You may have questions about how my duties will be covered while I am gone, and I’m happy to answer any of them via email or in person. But here’s a quick overview of the plans so far:

Pastoral care will be managed by the eminently qualified Jill Preyer. I am so grateful for her willingness to take on this role and work with Mark and the Pastoral Visitor Team to be sure that you continue to get high quality and responsive care when you are ill or in crisis. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need anything.

The Connections Program will be managed by a team of volunteers, each taking on responsibility for leadership of one segment of the program.

Small Group Ministry remains in the capable hands of Joy McConnell and Nora Carpenter, with assistance as needed from Mark.

And you’ll see a few extra guests in the pulpit in my stead as well.

I expect that there will be a few bumps along the way, but I know that all of these essential programs are in good hands, and that I’ll be back in August, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready for a new church year. Keep your eye on the Weekly eNews for more updates on sabbatical logistics.