We are so blessed to have your presence in worship today! We have over fifty children and youth who are leading us in our service of healing and wholeness. They have worked hard on their roles. Our prayer for you is that this is a time to hear and experience God’s merciful gifts in your life. We pray that through the varied opportunities in this morning’s service, you might make a new connection to renewing forgiveness and healing grace, of God in Jesus Christ, working through the Holy Spirit.
Speaking of being renewed, I will be taking a few weeks of vacation in May and will not be in worship again until May 27. Additionally, I wanted to talk a little bit about my Sabbatical coming up June 4-August 26. At FCUCC, in the seventh year of service, a pastor becomes eligible take a Sabbatical of three months in length. Our Employee Handbook defines the purpose of this time away as “a leave of absence for further training to pursue special research or study, engage in writing and travel, or do other activities, which will prepare the pastor for more effective ministry.” Really, sabbaticals are a time of renewal meant to prepare Pastors for another season of ministry.
My sabbatical has been designed around re-connecting with God in creation and sharing this love with my family. I have a variety of experiences, which will aid me in meditating, learning, and growing my awareness of God’s majesty in nature. The primary purpose of this time is to reconnect and enrich my spiritual life anticipating the output the coming years will require. In order to honor the intention of my sabbatical, I will be disconnecting from FCUCC entirely for these three months. I will not be available or reachable. If you do have a need; we have two gifted and loving pastors to fill this role and an excellent CYF staff to answer questions. If you see me out in public, don’t shy away; just be aware that in order to honor my sabbatical commitments I will not engage in discussions about church life, no matter how exciting they might be.
I praise God for the exciting and enriching years we have spent in ministry together and look forward to the years that are to come. May God deeply bless your summer and provide for your renewal and the spiritual sustenance needed to carry on in the mission of discipleship.
Grace and Peace, Pastor Nick