It is so good to be back doing ministry with you. Don’t get me wrong: the time away was needed and appreciated, but the time comes, when you know you have rested enough and it is time to get back to work; that time has come!
Over the summer I did a lot of reading (mostly, but not exclusively, fiction I had wanted to read for enjoyment, but had not had time). I visited many churches and enjoyed the variety of styles and forms of worship. I attended a worship conference where we experimented with worship styles, forms, and also with different kinds of music, art and other sensory enhancements to the liturgy. I also spent time writing liturgy and working on the introduction for a book of liturgy I would like to have published one day.
Nicole, Kristian, Casey and I took some time to travel, visiting: Edinburgh, Scotland; London, England; Orlando, Florida; and Lake McBride, Iowa. The picture to the left is of us at Windsor Castle in England. The time away as a family was good for us, it allowed us to reconnect as a family in ways that don’t happen in the midst of the business of everyday life. The camping trip in Iowa with my siblings and their kids was also really good for the health of our extended family.
I exercised (mostly walking) and ate well – losing almost eight pounds over the summer, spent time in prayer, and gave time to the Columbia Theater Project helping build sets and make costume pieces for their production of the Wizard of OZ as well as appearing on stage as a Winkie (I got to dance with Sam Habermehl!!) and also as a citizen of the Emerald City (I got to dance with my wife Nicole!!).
I feel rested, refreshed, strong, healthy, and ready to jump back in to the life and work of St. Paul and of the Illinois South Conference. I believe I used the sabbatical wisely and well and I hope you will agree.
Thank you for the sabbatical time away and for the warm welcome back last Sunday. I hope you had a blessed Labor Day Weekend and that we see you for Rally Day on Sunday, September 7!
Peace and blessings,