Spiritual Renewal and Feeding the Soul

Good morning!!

Well it is hard to believe that it is December already!! Yet here we are and we are beginning the journey again to Bethlehem.We will listen for the voices of the prophets and the angels and we will follow the shepherds and the magi. It is a time of year that is filled with all kinds of emotions. For some of us it is exciting as we look forward to children or grandchildren coming home; for others it is a time of gathering with friends and celebrating; for still others it is a time of sadness as we view the empty places at our table. Wherever we are in the journey the message of Christmas is the same – we are surrounded by light and love.

This morning I want to talk to you about something other than Christmas however. It has come to my attention that the decision of Council to grant me a sabbatical is causing some of you concern. Part of the reason for that , I imagine, is that there has been no formal explanation of this and so a lack of understanding about what is happening.

The policy of the United Church is that Ministry Personnel can apply for a sabbatical every five years. The intent is that this will be a time of study and renewal. Ministry is what I do and who I am and I love it. However, in order to do what I do it is important to step back every now and then and recharge the batteries. This is of great benefit to me and to the people with whom I minister. With that in mind, I approached the Council in September with a request for sabbatical from May to August 2016. I specifically chose these months because they are a down time in the life of the church and would not take me away from my faith family during any high feasts or festivals.

During my time away I will be writing a liturgical resource that will be made available to the wider church for use by worship leaders. I will be drawing on the worship experience at First United that is, in fact, cutting edge. With the growing number of congregations who are trying to continue in ministry without a full time minister, it is my hope that perhaps this kind of resource will be of value and a support as they seek to live out their call to be the church. I will also take time for spiritual renewal and the feeding of my soul.

While I am away the work of our congregation will continue as normal. We will be engaging someone to provide worship leadership; my colleagues in the other United Churches will cover for pastoral emergencies; and our own pastoral care team will continue with the care that they are giving. I will be in regular contact through Wednesday Wonderings and can be reached by phone at any time.

If any of you have concerns or questions please give me a call and we can chat.

Blessings

Valerie

 

Reminders of the Week

Saturday at 7pm  Candle light concert!!!! You don’t want to miss it!!!

 

Christmas Services

December 21 –   7pm  Longest Night Service. We are joining our brothers and sisters of St. Andrew’s, St. David’s , Brunswick Street and Valley . The service this year will be held at St. David’s.

 

December 24  –   4pm    Children’s Service

                                   7pm     Service of Story and Song

                                10om    Candle Light Communion

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