Written for Third Presbyterian Church April Spire

“Sabbatical leave is an extension of the biblical concept of a Sabbath day and a Sabbath year for renewal. It is both an act of faith that God will sustain us through a period of reflection and changed activity and an occasion for recovery and renewal of vital energies.” From the Pittsburgh Presbytery Sabbatical Leave Guidelines for Pastors

I am grateful for the opportunity to take a sabbatical from April 16th – July 8th.  I’m looking forward to a season of deep discernment, rest, and renewal.  

My sabbatical will start with a Pilgrimage to England (Oxford, Bath, and Norwich) to further my studies of C. S. Lewis, Katherine Parr, and Julian of Norwich.  The pilgrimage schedule includes a strategic amount of quiet time for spiritual journaling and creative writing.  

I will return home with a few days to do laundry and pack for the next adventure with Kurtis and Penelope.  We will load up our RV and tow it to some of America’s National Parks.  Kurtis’ boss has cleared him to work from the road with the stipulation we get to Las Vegas in time for a conference, so our travels have been timed around that destination.  One of our early stops is not a national park but Thistle Farms which was founded by Becca Stevens as a mission of healing and hope for women survivors of trafficking, prostitution, and addiction.  We have plans for stops to visit the other two DfG collection points in Missouri and Utah so that I can connect with friends and colleagues that I usually only work with digitally and see on zoom.  

Since Kurtis is working from the RV, we have invested in a mobile hotspot.  That means being completely unplugged will be a little challenging for me.  We will post updates of our travels on social media and it’s likely that I will share some of my writing on my blog.  But I will not be checking my emails and I will have long periods of time when my phone will be off.  I hope to take walks with Penelope to give Kurtis some time to get work done in a quiet space and to give me time to breathe deeply.  I’m looking forward to reading and writing on a picnic table while Penelope snores in the sunshine.  She is solar powered dog and will really enjoy this adventure in the great outdoors. 

Additionally, this letter went out to the congregation on Friday, April 14, 2023.

This sabbatical will function as a transition from my role as associate pastor of Third Church to a new opportunity yet to be determined. Third Church is graciously allowing me to use my remaining time with them to focus on finding a new home for Days for Girls Pittsburgh and a new opportunity for me. I am hopeful that I can develop a ministry that will allow me to continue my work with DfG, but I remain open to whatever God has prepared for me and for this program that is dear to my heart. When I return from what promises to be a restful and wonderful sabbatical, I will begin to engage in the work of transition. Let the adventure begin.

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