Sitting finishing a lovely hot cocoa of a Monday morning (thanks to the care package the church sent me off with), it’s hard to believe a month has passed already. Today started, as has been more the rule than the exception, by taking the boys to school late due to yet another snow delay. We’re jokingly referring to this time as the “Snowbattical.” The sabbatical plan included a few small goals rather than one grand project. The weather made sure that I would reach at least one of those goals: spending more time with the kids.
Turns out the sabbatical is book-ended by two very ministerial projects. That may sound like work during a time to renew and recreate; but believe me, it’s renewing work. First is to prepare the sermon and “Charge to the Congregation” for former AUUC member and newly called minister, Rev. Andrew Weber, on his installation weekend. All of the members of this church are ministers, but it’s a particularly strong church that creates and nurtures people who in turn give their life to ministry. So even if you don’t know him, you can share in the love celebrating Rev. Andrew’s installation as called minister to his first congregation. Next, and on the other end of the calendar, “Summer Institute” invited me to return as morning minister for this summer’s week of spiritual exploration and growth this year at Oberlin in Ohio. Of course I was honored by the invitation; but absolutely thrilled because the main speaker (in addition to daily worship and workshops, there’s a “theme speaker” who speechifies every day) is former long-time member of the a capella musical group, “Sweet Honey in the Rock,” Dr. Ysaye Barnwell. My cup runneth over.
So for the first month, I’m steeped in reflections on the relationship between called minister and congregation; while in the last months, I’ll be preparing worship for an exploration of what it means to create a “vocal community” through singing in the African American tradition. (Honestly, instead of a “staybattical” or “snowbattical,” this is beginning to feel like a “blissbattical.”)