As you might imagine, I am excited and looking forward to being on sabbatical, starting Monday through September 6th! The thought of rest, renewal, reading, writing and extended time with my family and friends has spurred me on since last October, when I learned that we had been awarded a grant from the Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Program. There is no question in my mind that this opportunity will prove beneficial for all of us!
While I am away, the church will be in excellent hands with our very capable staff and leadership team who will be responsible for any concerns that might arise. Isaiah Fish, our Ministry Associate, and Liz Sweeney, Director of Programs for Children & Families, will be the liaisons with the rest of the staff for day-to-day operations and Sunday worship. They will be supported by the Sabbatical Leadership Committee:
- Jennifer Jacob, Chair of Church Council, Chair of Sabbatical Leadership Committee
- Rebecca Ashley, Co-Lay Leader
- Brian Victor, Co-Lay Leader
- Jill Tatara, Chair of Staff Parish Relations Committee
- Eric Palmer, Chair of Finance Committee
- Carl Condra, Chair of Board of Trustees
In addition to sermons by Isaiah, guest preachers will include the Reverend Dr. Luke Powery of Duke University Chapel, Reverend Dr. Willie J. Jennings of Yale Divinity School, Reverend Dr. Gerald Liu, and from the New York Annual Conference: Reverend Dr. Denise Smartt Sears, Reverend Dorlimar Lebron Malave, Reverend Margaret Schramm Horn, and our own Reverend Thea Crites.
I want to encourage you to also take intentional time for yourself this summer. While things are starting to “normalize”, we are likely years away from grasping the full impact of the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual toll of the past year. I am guessing that it would do you a world of good to slow the pace, spend quality time with those you love, and do as many fun things as you can, especially those things that have been missing for a while.
I am equally excited about my return in September and reimagining the church’s future. Most of all, I am looking forward to re-opening the sanctuary when we are able and being together with you again.
Take good care of yourself. I love you and will miss you!
Until we meet again,