Pastor Louise: On Sabbatical

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Time Alone – Four monthly, 24-hour retreat days will be spent at Colombiere Retreat Center in Clarkston, MI.  The goal is to establish a habit of silent time with God that can be continued after the sabbatical peace and spiritual rejuvenation.
 
Time in Creation – Two intense experiences of God’s creation on this planet, Earth, will bookend the sabbatical time.  August 3-14, Elaine and I will take a roundtrip look at the fjords of Norway.  October 23-November 5, we will explore both islands of New Zealand.  These two luxury level trips would never be possible without the Lilly Foundation grant!
 
Time with Friends and Family – Time at the cottage in Parry Sound, Ontario, a stay at the Big Bay Lighthouse west of Marquette, camping with friends, a visit with Elaine’s Texas grandchildren, visiting friends in Hobart, Tasmania; all will serve to increase the bonds of the heart-strings.
 
Time to Explore Community Living – Elaine and I will be visiting intentional living communities in Michigan, Norway, Denmark, New Zealand, and Tasmania during the sabbatical journey to explore communities of faith, of ecology, and of social support.
 
Time with Elaine – She shares me all the time.  She is looking forward to long trips where I am wholly available to her!  Lucky me!!!
 
Friends in Faith, as of March 1, 2019, we have been together on this ministry journey for eight years!  What does that have to do with the Sabbatical Journey?
 
The Call – When your search and call committee pursued me as your pastor and teacher, we signed an agreement in December, 2010.  That agreement was then voted upon by the congregation and became the formal call on February 6, 2011.  In that Call Agreement is where the Sabbatical is defined:
 

V. SABBATICAL LEAVE

Medical and personal leave of absence notwithstanding, our church provides the pastor with a sabbatical leave of three months after seven years of full-time ministry with our church.  During the sabbatical, the pastor is paid full salary and benefits.  It is the pastor’s responsibility to share with the Church Council, at least one year prior to beginning the sabbatical, the developing plans for time away.  In the pastor’s absence, we covenant with integrity to care for our church, our programs, our worship life, and each other.  Further, we covenant not to use this time to accomplish or decide alone what we have not been willing or able to do together.  We will, and we expect the pastor will also, use this time to reflect on our mutual ministry in Christ and how we can live more fully into our call as a church of Jesus Christ.  Upon the pastor’s return, we will invite the pastor to share with the church an overview of activities and learnings from the sabbatical.  Unless otherwise agreed prior to the sabbatical, we expect that the pastor will continue as our pastor and teacher for at least one year after the return.