During my annual review with mission director, Paul Erickson, Paul encouraged me to take a sabbatical in 2015. I brought it up at Humble Walk's annual dream round up--and everyone was incredibly supportive. We are applying for a big, fat grant through the Lily Endowment. Lily provides grant for clergy sabbaticals--covering costs for the pastor and the congregation while he/she is gone. They are highly sought after-for obvious reasons. I think of it as winning the pastor lottery--a longshot, but SOMEone has to win, right? So, a team of folks have been working hard behind the scenes with me. The application is extensive--and requires a good deal of input from both clergy and representatives of the congregation. I have already learned a good deal (about me, you, our lives together). I think we will all be happy to hit the submit button next week and wash our hands of it. Jess Olson, Nathan Johnson, Theresa Nordenstam and Robyn Wayne have put substantial time and thought into the process. I am grateful for their work and eyes to see. We find out in August if we get the grant.
So what happens if we get it? Well, the grant covers preachers and crisis care for the three months I am gone. And small stipends for other roles (communications, hospitality, etc). This team has cooked up uniquely Humble experiences for the community--which includes a variation on Milestones, a good amount of coffee/cookies and some picture documentation. We are also all going to read a book together. There are meals. Meals to send me off. Meals at our return. Sabbatical means eat, right? And play? Yeah, so there is also a whole-community retreat.
It's all scheduled for August, September and October 2015. I know. That is such a long time from now. But to be truthful, I am already a tiny bit nervous and I pre-preemptively miss you. Three months.
What happens if we don't get the grant? Well, then we still do a sabbatical. But it will look a little different for all of us.
The underlying question for this grant is, "What makes your heart sing?" That's easy for me. Being the pastor at Humble Walk makes my heart sing. I can't imagine anything else. It also asks a great deal of me and I want to be able to do it for a good, long time. The theme we developed is based around mono-tasking. Mono-tasking as sabbatical- inspired by watching one of our 3-year-olds chew her communion wafer--fully, the entire thing and swallow it all--before being ready to serve communion to her neighbor. One thing at a time. It's a ridiculously freeing image.