“Fill My Cup, Lord…”
Emailed Tuesday January 29, 2019
With the support of our church leaders, I am fortunate to receive approval for a renewal leave this summer from June 17-September 3. According to our Book of Discipline, clergy who have been in full time ministry for at least six years may take a spiritual renewal leave of up to six months while continuing to hold an appointment in the local church. In eleven years of ministry, I had not yet made space for this opportunity to rest and recharge. I am grateful to our Staff Parish Relations Committee, Church Council, and District Superintendent for their support in this important time of renewal.
What does a spiritual renewal leave mean? Well, this is a time for me, as your pastor, to fill up my cup. Pastoral ministry, like so many of our vocations, can drain our spiritual tanks. And when my cup isn’t filled to the brim, my ministry among you is less than it could be. I believe that what my colleagues have shared with me – that it often takes getting away for a bit from the 24/7 nature of ministry to truly refresh, refill, and allow God to fill us back up. I hope to return and be able to sing with King David, “my cup overflows” (Psalm 23:5).
What will I be doing for this 11 weeks of spiritual renewal? First, I hope to rest and recharge my spiritual batteries. I want to use this time as a way to reconnect with spiritual disciplines and engage in some new ones. One of the ways I will do this is by taking some time away on a personal retreat in August.
Second, I want to focus on my roles as spouse, mom, and daughter. For clergy, it is often tempting to sacrifice time with family for accomplishing more in ministry, and through this renewal leave, I aim to be intentional about cherishing my personal family as much as I cherish my church family.
Third, I will be doing continuing education through the Advancing Pastoral Leadership (APL) program. APL has been an incredible wellspring of learning and growing, and this program will continue to be my primary source for continuing education through 2020.
What will St. John’s be doing during this time? We will continue to live out our vision to feed people spiritually and physically, through such activities as Vacation Bible School, the Youth 2019 trip, Summer Sunday School, Blessing of the Backpacks, and our Shepherd’s Market feeding ministry. The church will also be feeding me spiritually by affirming this renewal leave. Our current plan is for Pastor Deirdre to be our primary preacher with support from a few guest preachers. Plans are in place for support for our staff, pastoral care for the congregation, and I will be praying daily for each of you and the ministries of St. John’s.
Please know how grateful I am for you and for this opportunity. I am so honored to be your pastor. I already look forward to returning to you as we boldly enter our third year of ministry together!
Grace and peace,