Early next year, I’ll be celebrating five years as one of your ministers here at First Church, which is both hard to believe, and yet, we have shared so much life together! My role has shifted considerably since I joined the staff in 2015, and this fall we officially updated my job title to more accurately reflect this evolution, from Young Adult Minister to the more expansive Associate Minister (although young adult ministry is still one of my primary arenas).
I am grateful to be eligible for my first ever sabbatical, which I plan to take in two parts, in hopes that my time away would be easier on the congregation and staff, and allow me to be present for Lent and Holy Week. Part one is coming right up in January and February (Jan. 2–Mar. 2, 2020). Then, I will likely take part two in June and July (both parts will include some study leave/vacation as well).
I’m excited about the creative space and spiritual rejuvenation this time will allow. While our church doesn’t require a dedicated project or proposal from pastors on sabbatical, my goals include rest and replenishment, spiritual discipline, artistic expression, time to dedicate to relationships, and travel (Arizona, So. Cal, Hawaii, and Austin in Feb; summer travel TBD).
My roles and responsibilities here at First Church will be covered collaboratively by other staff and congregation members, guest preachers, and some intentional sabbatical coverage by church members and UCC ministers Rev. Sheryl Johnson and Member-in- Discernment the-almost-Rev. Kelly Colwell. Sheryl will expand her role of Open Chapel Coordinator to include Young Adult Ministry duties in my absence, and both Sheryl and Kelly will offer additional pastoral care support and occasional office hours.
My hope is that I’ll return after each leg of this sabbatical with fresh energy, ideas, and eyes, ready to continue to bring my whole self to our shared ministry from a deep and sustainable wellspring. Thank you for offering this meaningful gift to your pastoral staff.