The Pine Ridge Sabbatical policy is that pastors are to have a 3-month sabbatical every seven years. I took my last sabbatical in 2004. It was a great time for my family, the church and me.
I hoped to go again in 2011, but we were in the depths of the Great Recession and I was the only ordained person here at the church 2010-2015, so there was no good time for me to be away for an extended period in those years. And then when we did call and Associate Pastor I didn’t want to leave until Buzzy had a chance to get her feet on the ground. So, I was making plans to go last year to mark 25 years in ministry here. I planned to begin letting you know just after Easter last year. But it turned out nothing went as planned in 2020, so I postponed yet again.
But with the Session’s blessing earlier this year, I am planning to be out of the office from June 7 to mid-October (including vacation and some annual study leave time). In the past I have made a lot of plans which haven’t come to fruition, so this year the only things I know for sure are that I am going to take time to rest and spend time with my family; to think about what we do next as a post-pandemic church; to read and think about the current racial reckoning; and to finish up a program I have been involved with this year call Seminary of the Wild and to be able to travel as the Spirit leads.
Sabbatical is rooted in “Sabbath,” God’s ordained day of rest during each week. It is certainly a time for rest but also renewal. It is a time for study but also re-creation. It is most of all a gift to allow a pastor to listen deeply to God. And it is also a chance for the church to listen for God through different voices. It is a chance to come back and begin again anew in the same place.
I feel very good about where we are at this moment. There is a good spirit of moving us forward. We have weathered some storms, plugged some leaks and have many reasons to give thanks. God is good. And it was a great Easter! It is a good time for me to be away for a bit.