Dear Edwards Church Community,
Thank you for the opportunity to take a restorative sabbatical. The term “sabbatical” indicates the root of the custom in the Biblical mandate to cease from work and attend to that which feeds us most deeply. Sabbath rest is taken so that we can remember who and whose we really are, what our deepest calling is, where it comes from and what it calls us to do. This sort of rest re-orients us, or can, when we have (as we almost inevitably do) wandered a little off course. I hope you can see how that is closely related to weekly sabbath rest and worship! (If not, please contact me.)
During my sabbatical, I rested, read, and reflected enough to realize where (I think) I have wandered a bit and what sorts of course corrections need to be made. Mostly they involve rebalancing where to direct energy and attention among my various responsibilities. I will discuss that in more detail with the appropriate lay leaders in the church before making any noticeable changes. By way of example, I hope to spend less time on administrative matters, especially related to the building, and more on pastoral care and community building, with continued efforts in outreach on a local and broader basis.
While on sabbatical I did a lot of walking. Outside, moving in nature, I feel as close to God as I do in our sanctuary. God is there, revealing herself, reminding me how we are related, how I am precious, as are you, and all of creation. God made it all and said, “It is good.”
While walking in beautiful places, especially on retreat in Ireland and later walking along Loch Lomond to the Scottish highlands with my son, I was often reminded of how precious the earth and its beauty are, and how human behavior can fulfill or flaunt a sacred trust. So this year, among many other important things, let’s see if we can, as a community, do more about environmental stewardship for our children, grandchildren and neighbors around the world.
“Gathering at the crossroads of ancient faith and contemporary culture, we are a Christian church asking God to open us to a new way.” We have, over the last couple of years, reframed how we think about and utilize the church’s inherited wealth. The REACH team is now well on its way (see the article in this Spire) to helping us reframe how we think about the work of the church and organize ourselves to do it. There’s a lot going on, and it is all good! I hope to see you soon, especially at the All Church Picnic following worship on September 8th.
With gratitude and affection,