Back from Sabbatical, With Gratitude

October 5, 2018


Hello everyone -- I'm happy to back at work from my sabbatical, and want, beginning with this e-news, to express my thanks. 

I am so very grateful. 

I'm grateful for the very fact that I was able to take a sabbatical. While no one denies the wisdom of churches allowing clergy, after six or seven years of service, to take extended time away to rest and renew one's ministry, not all churches choose to (or are able to) make them happen. This time of refreshment is not something I take for granted. 

Thank you. 

I'm even more grateful for all those who stepped up while I was away. 

One thing I've heard over and over since coming back is "we missed you, but..." 

  • "we missed you, but wow, Kelly did such a good job!"(Not only on Sundays, but with funerals and pastoral care crises.) Thank you, Kelly! 

  • "we missed you, and don't take this the wrong way, but things ran so smoothly while you were away! (This said mostly by staff, some of whom are graciously trying to reassure me that our efficiency this summer was due not so much to my being away as with Heather now being on board and up to speed as our full-time parish administrator, and our staff and vestry, led by our wardens, Paul and Maury, stepping up administratively.) Thank you, staff and vestry, especially Paul, Maury, and Heather! 

  • We missed you, but how exciting to meet John Wunderlich and Lauren Breeden, and to get to know Sarah Allred better! (Thank you, search committeesthat led to John and Lauren's hirings, and to Sarah for choosing to spend her summer here!) 

Let me say in return: I missed you, people of The Falls Church, but...

  • I missed you, but I had such a great sabbatical: It did exactly what it was supposed to do, at least from my perspective: I feel like a new person -- recovered from a deep tiredness, rested physically, and restored both spiritually and vocationally. I'm also hearing that the sabbatical did good things from the perspective of the staff and vestry, enabling others to see things in different lights and develop new patterns of decision-making. 

  • I missed you, but I'm more appreciative than ever of this faith community. I don't know if "absence makes the heart grow fonder," but for me it certainly did make my heart more grateful -- more grateful for this fabulous congregation, more grateful for our current and past vestry members and other lay leadership, more grateful for our dedicated and talented staff, and for Kelly as a true colleague. 

  • I missed you, but I'm so glad to be back now! I look forward to seeing many of you at Shrine Mont, where I'll be Friday through  Saturday lunch, and many more of you "back home" at the 9:00 and 11:15 services this Sunday morning. Most of all, I look forward to discovering, together, what exciting plans God has in store for us in the near and long term future. Glory to God, whose power working in us can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. 

With thanks, 

See you Sunday,

John

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