Sabbath Time

by The Rev. Dr. Jason L. Parkin 

Many will hopefully remember, from the April issue of The Dove, that I will be taking a partial sabbatical at two different times this summer. Although I will only be availing myself of a modest portion of the time away which I have accrued, I will, nevertheless, be gone much of the month of June and almost the entire month of August, hard though it will be to be away from my beloved parish family.

During the June segment, I am going to visit significant churches in affluent suburbs of Northern and Northeastern cities-in other words, congregations parallel to Holy Comforter in size, budget, context, and/or program vitality-to learn from clergy, music directors, lay leaders, and other significant people what approaches to ministry, liturgy, fellowship, and other areas are working (or, conversely, not working) in bringing about growth and new life. I will be visiting congregations outside Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Detroit, and later in the summer will travel to Milwaukee and Minneapolis-St. Paul. At present, I am scheduled to visit 10 congregations in the Northeast and Midwest during this first journey. During the second segment of the sabbatical, I plan to spend more time than is usually available in prayer and reading of various kinds, to work in the Rectory garden, and, in general, to reflect on my ministry and where I see God nudging Holy Comforter in the years to come. (I had originally planned to catch a few more Cubs games than I have the last few years, but they have been so disappointing lately that I may rethink that option.) And I will spend as much time as possible with Jan and our kids.

In my absence, Charlie Wise, the Senior Warden, will be the "ecclesiastical authority" for matters involving the Vestry and the leadership and governance of the parish, and Chris Hardman, Heath Howe, and George Hull will be in charge of pastoral and liturgical concerns. In other words, the parish will be in extraordinarily good and capable hands.

I am grateful to you, the people of Holy Comforter, for this opportunity to be renewed in body, mind and spirit. I look forward to this "time apart," even as I also eagerly anticipate returning to my parish family. And I hope that you will keep me in your prayers, as you will constantly be in mine.