But now more than ever the word about Jesus* spread abroad; many crowds would gather to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray.
As many of you have heard I will be taking a sabbatical in the Fall of this year. This is a normal practice in the life of an Episcopal parish and has been in the planning stages since I became your full-time priest in 2008. Each year a priest accumulates 2 weeks of sabbatical leave time to be taken at the end of his or her 6th or 7th year. I am currently in my eighth year at Grace and have delayed my sabbatical by a year in order to make sure we have everything in place for a proper transition while I’m gone. Our curate, Lora, will be priest in charge while I am on sabbatical and our Vestry is well-prepared to take care of the temporal needs of the parish while I’m gone.
Jesus took himself apart often in his ministry, to pray, to be with God, to be renewed. The Sabbatical program of the Episcopal Church seeks to ensure that priests have an opportunity for a time of sabbath; for a renewal of spirit and a reaffirmation of life with God as well as opportunities for creativity and discovery for both the clergy person and the parish.
I will be at Cambridge University in Great Britain for most of the Fall, but will also be taking time to travel to important spiritual sites around the U.K., a kind of Anglican pilgrimage, so to speak. Laurie will be with me as well, so this will also be a time for her and I to have some more intentional time together as we seek God’s renewal in our lives.
I am extremely grateful to my Grace Church family for making this opportunity a reality for me. This will be the first time in my 25 years of full time ministry that I have taken a sabbatical and I look forward to coming back to you renewed and refreshed. My last Sunday before we leave will be August 30 and I will return on January 3.
During the summer you will hear more about what our plans are for the ministry here at Grace to continue with as much vibrancy and life as if I was here, so stay tuned!