I will post periodically on this  front page of the blog, various highs and lows of this Sabbatical time.  I also intend to keep a regular (but not daily) journal which you can find by clicking the link here http://cpuc.edublogs.org/sabbatical/  or find “Sabbatical Journal” above in the black header.

After over a year of planning, preparing,  it begins, for me, and for the congregation of Cedar Park United… a time of difference, newness, exploration, attentiveness,  all the while being blessed by the surprises of  life in all its fullness.

Sabbaticals for clergy are meant to be intentional  periods of release and rest from the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities of pastoral ministry, thereby creating  space and opportunity for spiritual and physical renewal,  for vocational reflection,  and for study.

The supreme model for taking Sabbath time is God! In Genesis we read that after the work of Creation, God took a breath, took a break from all that creating,  and took time to reflect upon it, and to celebrate its fundamental goodness.   In the Gospels, particularly the one written by Luke, we see Jesus frequently taking a ‘time out,’  heading off to the edges of the day, to the edges of creation, to reconnect with God, rest his body, and renew and retool for the ministry that lay ahead of him.   Good models  I intend to follow.

My hope and prayer for my sabbatical is

a) to rest my body and treat it well.  This involves time on my bike, on a golf course, at the gym, at the piano, cooking interesting food,and  some travel.

b) to bring to completion the work of my Doctorate in Ministry (D.Min).  I need to complete a dissertation/thesis, but I WANT to write down the best of our recent experiences of unlocking Scripture in community through the use of a “midrashic imagination”  – a faithfully playful, curious engagement of the Biblical library in ways that make relevant connections between these ancient texts, our own context, and God who is involved in both.

c) to connect meaningfully with my far flung family.  With parents in UK, our children and their families living in Vancouver and South Dakota, that is no small undertaking!

d)  to  pray and ponder, read and listen well to the call of God for the next chapter of our lives together at Cedar Park United, for you can be sure, God has things, good things in store for us!

My hope  for this Sabbatical time for CPU is that you relish this opportunity to worship in new ways with great worship leaders, Revs. Wendy Evans and Alyson Huntly, and our guest line up for early Adventwho will bring insights from other faith traditions in their Human Quest for the Holy.  My prayer for you is that you love and care for one another as you share the  ministries, programmes,  vision, and  mission of Cedar Park United in the months ahead.

May God bless the space between us.