16 Jun Sabbatical? What Sabbatical?
As promised, this week I will share more details about the upcoming sabbatical. But first, a good question to consider is: what is a sabbatical and why are we doing this?
The PC(USA), like a lot of church denominations (as well as many universities), recognizes that there is significant value to pastors and churches for a pastor to have a dedicated time to step away from the daily demands of ministry. Presbyterians allow a three-month sabbatical after every six years of full-time pastoring, to be taken in the seventh year of ministry. First due to family issues and then due to Covid, I am two years late in taking a sabbatical. But, as with so many things, God’s timing is perfect. I am grateful to be receiving this extended time of renewal after the heightened stresses of navigating a global pandemic this past year.
Sabbaticals are specifically intended to be a complete break from work, and as such, pastors and congregations are encouraged to have no communication during the sabbatical period. As much as I covet and will appreciate your prayers while I am away, please know that I will not be responding to texts, phone calls, or emails until I return. But that does not mean that no one will be taking care of Calvary’s ongoing needs and business. We are blessed with competent and loving staff, elders, and parishioners who are stepping up to be sure all is well. These are some of the plans that will be in place:
1. Pastoral Care needs
- Please alert the church office, any elder, or your Discipleship Team leader with any pastoral care concern that arises.
- Four pastors are “on call” to respond: Gene Kendall, Barbara Heck (Bush Hill), Rob Erickson (Heritage) and Bob Melone (Mt. Vernon).
2. Christian Education
- Sermon Talk Back will resume in person in August with Janet Gayle Lumpkins and John Kerr facilitating each week. Guest preachers will be invited to participate.
- Presbyterian Women circles will resume in person in September. Dianne Hasbrouck and Jane Kerr will facilitate the Circle One meetings until I return. Barbara Allen will announce details for the Hazel Circle.
- Children’s Ministry: Elder Andy Clay, CM Director Jenny Cudahy, and I have discussed coverage of nursery and children’s Sunday school. Jenny will continue to communicate with families and coordinate with Andy as changes evolve into the fall.
- Adult Small Group: John & Jane Kerr will reconvene this group in the fall.
3. Fellowship Time
- Lemonade on the Lawn will continue throughout the summer/fall, as weather permits.
- Elder Glenn Fahrig will oversee and communicate any changes to our current practice, as Covid-related protocols allow. Having said that, our plan moving forward is to continue a “slimmed down” version of Fellowship Time, with our emphasis on being together and connecting, rather than on the food.
- Session meetings will be ongoing with Carrie Yearick moderating the September meeting and Gene Kendall moderating the October meeting.
- Elders will continue to stay informed of evolving Covid protocols and update decisions related to church activities, as needed.
- Clerk John Kerr will communicate to the congregation any major decisions made by the Session, via the weekly e-letter (which will continue throughout the sabbatical) and Sunday announcements.
- Pending decisions (building maintenance, discussion of Eagles’ Wings with MEES, etc) will be overseen by the appropriate ministry team elder.
- Good Samaritan Funds: Dianne Hasbrouck and Jane Kerr will coordinate disbursements of these funds, as appropriate, with Jim Lawhorn.
5. Nominating Committee
- The work of the Nominating Committee will proceed on schedule.
There is much more to share, so stay tuned next week for one final theological reflection on the sabbatical and what is in store for all of us.
Yours for the Kingdom,