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All About Sabbatical

I am so grateful for the support of the congregation and the consistory regarding my upcoming sabbatical. I am thankful for my call here in July 2016 and I am delighted to see the good things God has done in and through our congregation.

What is a sabbatical and its benefits?

Sabbatical has its root in the word “sabbath,” which means rest. A sabbatical is an intentional time set aside for physical, mental, and spiritual rejuvenation that can take on a variety of forms. A sabbatical is not a vacation, although it includes rest.

A sabbatical’s aim is to bolster and refresh a minister in ways they sense they need at that time. The congregation is also blessed as they hear different voices and viewpoints in the pulpit and others chip in and help during the pastor’s absence.

Being a church minister has many rewards. It also has difficult aspects. One must learn how to wisely bear the grief and pain of those they serve. One has to healthily handle the very real stressors of leading a volunteer-heavy non-profit while also navigating the stressors of one’s own life. Oh, and don’t forget to have a fresh and engaging sermon by Sunday!

A weekly sabbath and a sabbatical offer time and space for creative rejuvenation. They also provide opportunities to reflect on life and work and how one might adjust in better ways.

It’s work. It’s challenging. It’s a joy. I love it.

Sabbatical Dates

My sabbatical will take place from July 1 – September 30. I am out of the pulpit starting June 25. I will be in the office starting the first week of October and in the pulpit on October 8.

Sabbatical Concept: Thank you. Next. Fun.

The Lilly Foundation, a major funder of ministerial sabbaticals, suggests that the sabbatical be something that “makes your heart sing.” Here’s what I’ll be humming.

Thank you. I will be traveling to spend time with 3 mentors who invested a lot of time and energy into me. My outlook on preaching, leading, and caring has their fingerprints all over it.

Each of these mentors played a part in my development-- from leading me to Christ when I was a teenager, to working in my first call after seminary, to giving me the experience and opportunity I needed to be ready for this work in Poughkeepsie. I will travel to three great cities to see them: Chicago, Austin, and Knoxville. I promise I will eat well and laugh a lot.

Next. I want to celebrate my past and all the good people God has placed in it. I also want to think about the lessons I’ve learned and how I might integrate that into my future. What kind of minister and preacher do I want to be? Where do I need to grow as a husband, father, and minister?

To give space for this, I will take a 5-day silent spiritual retreat in Montreal. I will meet with a trained spiritual director who will help me process my thoughts. I will give myself to prayer, reading Scripture and other spiritual works, and meditating. Through the sabbatical, I will read my way through my ever-growing pile of books on art, faith, and the task and skill of preaching.

Enjoyment. We will take a great family vacation to a warm beach in the Caribbean. I will also take one-on-one trips with each of our kids. One wants to go back to the city in which they were born to retrace early memories. One wants to visit the Natural History Museum and one wants to spend a day at an aquarium. Barb, who gets the summer off as a teacher, and I will enjoy our weekly lunch dates. One of the major goals I have is to spend as little time inside as possible. God’s great creation fills my heart with joy, so I will hike, fish, and seek out beauty.

Church Details


I want to thank Rev. Donna Field and Taylor Holbrook for agreeing to preach in my absence. Donna comes highly recommended by several colleagues I trust and Taylor always has something noteworthy and Christ-focused to say. Elders Bob Gensler and Mary Linge will fill in as necessary. Rev. Gloria McCanna will be present at consistory meetings to provide guidance.


Our awesome admin, Aimee, and Sexton, Kristin, will continue to handle the day-to-day work of the church. Janice will take her well-earned time away as she does for parts of each summer. The musical substitutes will do well. We are in great hands! The Personnel Committee will provide help to our staff as needed.

Whom to Contact in Case of an Emergency

In case of an emergency, please notify Bill Foster, who is serving as our Vice President. Bill will consult with others and care and attention will be provided as needed. You will find his information in the church directory. If you need a directory, please let Aimee know by emailing or calling the church office.

How You Can Pray

  • Pray for our guest speakers, that they will find joy in studying and bringing the Word, and that they would have a profound time as they serve us

  • Pray for our congregation that we will pull together, worship together, and celebrate together

  • Pray for those who visit our worship services, that they would sense the love of God and the care we have for them

  • Pray for our consistory who will continue to be the key points of spiritual and organizational leadership

  • Pray for our staff, that their work would go smoothly, and that they would have the wisdom they need for the tasks at hand

  • Pray for me and my family, as I/we travel and try to make the best use of this gift

  • Ask God what is the next step for you in the life of the church?


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