We begin now to bring a close to this remarkable Church Year with the summer months laying before us in all their warm, green splendor. I know that many of you are feeling a sense of lightness and freedom in being able to gather more freely with others and resume some of the activities that had been put on hold. Others of you are feeling the stress of still having to navigate the tricky terrain of what is truly safe for you or your loved ones and the unease of reentering society as more and more parts of our lives reopen and restrictions are lifted.
Throughout the Covid pandemic, I have witnessed people learning again the importance of being gentle with oneself and those around us and being more understanding of our differing needs and responses to the stress and trauma we have been living through. This has certainly been an important lesson for me! Even as we turn towards more hopeful and people-filled days, I think this gentleness and understanding is still vitally important.
Of course, the reopening of our church building and in-person programming is on many of our minds. Thank you to all who engaged with recent discussions about the Air Quality Project, as well as the Audio-Visual Tech Upgrades Project, and to all of you who attended and voted at the June 6 Special Congregational Meeting. I am so grateful for the thoughtful discussion, the generous financial gifts, and the approval of these projects. I am excited for the work ahead to equip our beloved building to more fully provide a welcoming, accessible, healthy, and technologically-suited space for us to be in community with one another.
As I prepare for my three-month sabbatical, I do so with full trust in this congregation and your ability to navigate the terrain of reopening and preparing for the coming year and whatever it may have in store. You have demonstrated the best qualities of a covenantal community over the past months, as full of challenge and uncertainty as they were. I encourage you to continue looking to those covenantal commitments and our shared mission as beacons on the way ahead.
Some have asked what I will be doing during my sabbatical. So far, I only have a plan for July 1st – to sleep in and stare out the window and let the emptiness of the day do its healing work. I invite you to join me at some point over the next few months in carving out space – even just a few hours – for that kind of spaciousness and “doing nothing” in your own life.
My sabbatical will also include re-engaging with some spiritual practices that have fallen to the wayside, like meeting with a Spiritual Director and more regular yoga practice. I will be doing lots of reading, and I invite you to join me in a “common read,” which you can read more about here. You can also refer to this Ministerial Sabbatical Guide for more information on what to expect, and who to contact, while I am on leave.
You continue to be an inspiration to me, and I look forward to returning to our shared ministry in October, renewed and refreshed and ready for all that comes next.