For the past three months as visiting preachers were led to my study, I’m told their first words often were “It’s so clean!” Kendra was quick to tell the truth: “Only because Catherine’s gone.” So if you want to see a clear desk top, come by quick. I am back and delighted to be shuffling papers and books, making calls, and scheduling catch-up visits.
This first week back from sabbatical has been filled with hugs and welcomes alongside meetings and conversation about what’s needed to rev up for the program year. I return enriched and deeply grateful to staff, elders, deacons, guest preachers, and pastors who covered worship, visitation, administration, and care. In the coming months I promise to share the many things I learned by being away for a time.
One of the purposes of a sabbatical is to help congregations experience what it means to be the body of Christ together. The Peaks Presbytery sabbatical guidelines put it this way: “It is an opportunity for the congregation to reflect on the whole nature and meaning of ministry and the place of the congregation in that ministry; to renew and strengthen congregational lay leadership; and to continue to grow in faith.” That certainly appears to have been the case this summer. Five of us entered the great cloud of witnesses. So many came together to celebrate the gift of their lives in worship and fellowship. There are simply no words to thank you for the ways you have supported each other and demonstrated what it means to the Church.
Scripture Reading: Genesis 32:22-31; Psalm 17:1-7, 15; Romans 9:1-5; Matthew 14:13-21.