Every 5 years, the United Church mandates a sabbatical for its ministry personnel. While this is required, I want to say how deeply honoured I am to have this gift of sabbath time to renew my life and look ahead into the next chapter in ministry. It is hard to believe that I commenced my student ministry back in 1995, entered ordained ministry in 2000, and now look ahead to the final stretch of ordered service which will lead me towards retirement. (though I have lots of ministry dreams for retirement too)
During this 4 month sabbatical, I seek an opportunity to renew and refine the leadership I bring in my various aspects of ministry. From January – Mid-March I plan to spend my week in three areas: I have begun lining up lunch / dinner meetings with learned clergy to reflect on their pastoral identity, the shifts they made through their career, the joys and challenges they navigated, how they maintained healthy/ resilient ways of being. And, what their dreams for the future of the church are. I will also be working with two professionals to guide my time through various theological resources and personal reflections. The second portion of my sabbitacal will occur from Mid-March - April. I will travel to France and begain a pilgrimmage leading to Spain via the Camino de Santiago. I will return to full church responsibilites on May 1st.
So what will happen at Northwood during these 4 months? I am pleased to see the level of leadership that we have coordinated during this time. We will be blesed by ALL the many people who step up and offer their gifts of leadership and grace through these months ahead. I hope YOU will take an opportunity to empower the church to grow and thrive during my absence.
Here is a briefing on the coverage the Board and I have coordinated:
Pastoral Care will be covered by the team consisting of: Barbara W, Terry H, and Marilyn B. This group is supported by the Rev. Randy A.
Board Meetings will continue monthly (additional meetings as needed). They will be supported by the neighbouring minister from Amazing Grace United Church, the Rev. Jonah Linh.
Office Administration will continue to run by Gaby and supported by Pam M (an active member at NUC). The office hours will continue to be Tuesday - Friday from 9 am - noon.
Worship will continue to be a core part of our community identity.
Sunday mornings will be running on a rotational leadership welcoming three of our regular visiting ministers: Rev. Anna Christie, Rev. Gabrielle Suedfeld, and Rev. Dr. Dorothy Jeffery. Once per month we have the special treat of a lay-led service by an individual or group from the church.
Jazz Vespers will continue on its planned schedule, and will be run our VST Student, Ben MacRae. Ben will be supervised in this 2nd half of his project by Rev. Dr. Ross Johnson (a regular participant at Jazz Vespers)
Our many other groups and ministries will continue as scheduled with the empowered leadership that has evolved. We are blessed to have such a commited group of members and friends of Northwood. May we continue to grow and thrive always!