I wanted to develop a rhythm in my life and my family’s life in which Sabbath became, not shoe-horning a desperate day off, but living life in all-sufficient seven-day units. Instead of racing, overloading schedules, and collapsing into the occasional week off, I wanted to engage in spiritual, emotional, physical, and intellectual growth each week.
My goals were to reconnect in relationship with my daughters and find renewal for ministry and soul through Celtic spirituality and Irish landscape. The program allowed me to spend three weeks with my daughter who had previously lived out of the country for eight years. We were able to share significant time together and reconnect in new ways. Unplugging from 24/7 ministry for an extended period was essential for my continuance in ministry.
Our goal was to experience renewal by gong on pilgrimage, both as pastor and as congregation. As pastor, I identified a number of sacred sites to visit and was thrilled to be able to visit all of them. I was also able to experience four weeks of rest in which to read, reflect and write. This time was especially renewing.
The impact upon the congregation was positive and focused. The church offered the sabbatical as a gift to myself and my family. The vast majority of congregants were genuinely rooting for me in the long waiting period between submission of the application and confirmation of selection. The congregation burst into spontaneous applause when they learned that we had been selected by the Clergy Renewal Program.
While Pastor Pam was on sabbatical, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church entered into a period of discovery about how we as a congregation can reach out beyond the congregation, into our community, to carry out ministry. We are a small congregation, and finding new leaders is always a challenge for us. One goal while she was on sabbatical was to continue to develop leadership among the people we have.
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