I am looking forward to a three month sabbatical, beginning May 6. Both our diocese and our parish encourage our clergy to do so every five years as a time of renewal and refreshment.
Every time I have done so, I have found it very helpful and restoring. In the summer of 2002, for example, I not only spent time with my mother in Montana (precious time since she died two years later), but I also planned and organized a weekly preaching course I taught the next spring at Duke Divinity School. In 2008, I spent the spring months at Emerald Isle, writing a manuscript, which I later used both in teaching here as well as in sacramental counseling.
This time I do not have a specific project in mind. I will be spending most of May and June at Emerald Isle, not only being in tune with the rhythms of God’s “flashing sea,” but also doing some reading and writing, organizing of my papers, and getting more regular exercise.
The one occasion I know I am coming back for will be Anne Hodges-Copple’s ordination as Bishop Suffragan at Duke Chapel on June 15. That will be a great celebration, and since our parish sponsored Anne for ordination and she was ordained a transitional deacon here in 1987, I hope some of you will be able to join me. (She will make her first visitation to us and confirm our youth and adult candidates on May 4, 2014!)
In July, Betsy and I will be taking an exciting trip to Europe, staying first in Scotland for a week and a half, including four days in Iona, and then in Prague in the Czech Republic for another week. We have never been to either country. Part of the reading I will do in May and June will be in preparation for this wonderful opportunity.
In my absence, the other clergy and staff and the Vestry and wardens will carry on as usual. It will be an exciting time with construction starting and the shape of the new building becoming clearer. As much as I look forward to some time away, I will be very excited to be back with you starting Monday, August 6! I will send periodic pictures and updates for the Friday email.
Thank you for the gift of this time.
Have a good summer,