I can’t believe it! The Sabbatical I planned to take in the summer of 2020 is now a reality in the summer of 2022. Finally, after multiple waves of different variants, I made it! I will be gone from May 26 through September 5 and I want to spend a little time laying out for you what you can expect over the next three months while I’m away.

The first thing you need to know is that my family and I will be travelling to the United Kingdom and Europe. During that time, I will be out of contact with all of you. I’m removing my e-mail from my phone and I’m going to be changing my phone number. In other words, you will be unable to contact me and, even if you find a way to do so, I won’t respond.

I don’t mean this to sound harsh, but the church is something I think about 24/7. I never stop thinking about it, so in order to really get some rest, I need to completely detach. While I’m gone, Judy will become the acting head of staff. She will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the church and for making sure everything runs smoothly in my absence. Of course, this means that Judy
is responsible for most of the preaching, along with her husband Ken and other guest preachers. Judy will not be in contact with me, so she can’t deliver any messages on your behalf. It’ll just have to wait until September.

Normally, during a Sabbatical, the pastor uses it as a time for personal study. They usually have some project they are working on while they are away. The Session has given me permission to use the time abroad to finish the last four chapters of a new book I’ve been writing. It’s called Restorative Beauty and the concept of the book is to address the topic of spirituality for those who would not consider themselves to be spiritual. This summer will be a great help in finishing the main body of the text. My hope is that once I have all the academic notes and editing finished, it will be ready for release by the spring of 2023.

I’ll let you know about my progress on the book once I’m back, but in the meantime, I just want to encourage you all with a couple of things. First of all, please don’t check out for the summer because I’m no longer around. Although many people see the church as being about the pastor, the truth is that the church is much more about you. So please make it a priority to come to church and participate in our programs over the summer.

Secondly, please continue your financial support of the church while I’m gone. If I return from this trip and our giving has taken a major nosedive, then that’s going to be an immediate source of stress. Therefore, let me say thank you up front for continuing to support the church in my absence.

The staff here really does need your support while I’m gone. They are going to do their very best to make sure everything happens the way it’s supposed to in a timely manner, but just remember that we are used to working with three pastors and with TC’s departure, we are now down to one, so be kind to Judy.

Judy will have some help, but the truth is, there is only so much she can pass off to the people who are here to help. When Judy was away on medical leave, having Rev. Steve Howery around was great for some things, but when someone died, particularly if it was someone important to our community, I couldn’t pass that off to him. Therefore, I’m just asking for you to have patience and know we are doing our best.

Finally, I just want to say thank you again for giving me the time. There are a lot of churches that cannot afford to allow their pastor to go on Sabbatical. We are in a privileged position where that can happen. I promise I will take lots of pictures and, as is my custom, I will likely put together a short video of my adventures so that upon my return you can get a flavor of what it was like. Have a great summer, get some rest and relaxation for yourself and I’ll see you in September!

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