Worship at 10am Sunday Morning
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Pastoral Letters

Harmon Sabbatical Update

Christ Presbyterian Church Family,

The session has approved a pastoral sabbatical in early 2020 to coincide with Rebecca’s spring semester sabbatical from Grove City College. We plan to be in Nantes, France during this time, with both of us doing reading, research and writing as well as personal and family renewal. To help fund my sabbatical, and parallel renewal activities for Christ Presbyterian Church during my absence, we will be applying for a grant from the 2019 Lilly Endowment National Clergy Renewal Program. The session has formed a three-person committee to work with me to prepare a proposal for the Lilly Program. The best proposals include elements of both pastoral and congregational renewal, with the congregation participating in renewal activities that parallel the pastor’s sabbatical program. We will have a “town hall” meeting after worship on Sunday, March 24th, so that you can learn more about the proposal and ask questions and provide feedback.

A ministry sabbatical is not just an extended vacation, but an intentional withdrawal of pastor-from-congregation and congregation-from-pastor for the mutual benefit of rest and renewal. Patterns of ministry—for both minister and church—create routines that can sometimes obscure clear-sightedness, stifle creativity, and sap initiative. By withdrawing and returning, fresh eyes can offer new and creative approaches to ministry with renewed energy and strength.

The concept of sabbatical comes from the Bible. In Hebrew, shabbat means “a ceasing”—the same word that gives us sabbath, the “day of rest.” In Leviticus 25:3-4, God called Israel to observe the final year in a cycle of seven years as a sabbatical year. Israel had the opportunity to renew their trust in God as the provider of all of their needs, even during the time when they did not labor. 

-Pastor Matt

 

Below are some links to resources about ministry sabbaticals:

Should Every Pastor Get a Sabbatical? Gospel Coalition Roundtable

Sabbaticals for Pastors by David VanDrunen

The Cheap Way to Bless Your Pastor by Kevin DeYoung




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