I am grateful to have served two congregations that have had a robust tradition of providing Continuing Education for their pastors. This time last year, I had the benefit of being able to take a time of sabbatical renewal. In so many ways, I remain appreciative of this opportunity that provided deep renewal, perspective, and spiritual growth. Time away that is used for the purpose of regeneration is essential - this is especially true for those who serve the church. The daily grind of ministry can be consumptive. Left unattended, it can be destructive. Times of sabbath are needed to keep the spirit alive and open to the work of THE SPIRIT.
I am taking one of the two weeks of Continuing Education that are allotted to me each year to travel to New Jersey. It has been twenty years since my ordination. In that time, many changes have happened in my life and in the life of the church that I love and serve as pastor. I will be taking along my camera and my computer, a few audible books (including one that I read as I prepared for my ordination twenty years ago: Henri Nouwen's, Can you Drink this Cup?). I will be driving alone and stopping along the way to write. I find long drives to be restorative and wonderful opportunties to do some heavy thinking.
I will return for worship on Wednesday evening. I am grateful for Pastor Gregg Helland who will be preaching and presiding on Sunday, to Vicar Andrew for guiding worship, and to Doreen and Bonnie who will continue to care for the ministry while I am gone. I ask for your prayers during this time of renewal. It is my hope to be able to share with you the fruits of this labor in a 20 day retrospective on 20 years of ministry which I will be publishing as a blog starting on June 9.
In thanks for the ministry that we share in Jesus' name,