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Sabbath Days

This message is being posted around the 26th anniversary of my ordination, June 19, and shortly before the kick-off to Eden’s anticipated year-long sesquicentennial celebration beginning September 28.

Anniversaries provide an occasion for reflection. What has been accomplished? What has changed? What are the inherent gifts of Eden Church? What is our core mission, our vision, and our values? What is God calling us to in the years ahead? Perhaps most importantly, how will we equip ourselves to fulfill this calling?

Some answers roll quickly off the tongue. Others require further reflection. Deep reflection requires Sabbath, and true Sabbath is hard to come by, especially for pastors. This is one of the reasons why churches established the practice long ago of granting sabbaticals to their leaders.

Stephanie and I will begin the second part of my sabbatical at Eden in late July. We will be away for 6 weeks and return at the end of August.

Many of you have asked what we will do while we are away. The answer is that we will continue to study Spanish and Mexican culture in order to strengthen our capacity to lead Eden’s cultural integration efforts in the Cherryland area. Stephanie will head back to the States before me. I will continue to study the language and cultures of Mexico, search (mostly online) for more resources and models to fund Eden’s ministries, and deepen our understanding of policy issues and advocacy opportunities related to immigration reform in the US.

Much as I love to learn and much as I enjoy traveling, I intend for our sabbatical to be a time to do less rather than more. I intend it to be a time of Sabbath, a time of rest, reflection, and restoration.

Regardless of one’s role in a faith community, we all need Sabbath. I wonder what you will do (or not do) for Sabbath this summer. When will you rest? What are you reflecting on? How will your soul be restored?

We look forward to reconnoitering with you in September, and hearing about your respective Sabbaths and the results of your discernment processes.

Pastor Arlene