Dear Members and Friends of Messiah,
We are so grateful for your gift of a 12-week sabbatical. We were blessed in more ways than we can count.
Here's a quick recap.
Visits with Mission Developers
We visited mission developers in Seattle, Portland, and Bend, each of whom are leading different kinds of ministries with different approaches to growing God's kingdom. We took copious notes as they each shared insights and learnings that will be helpful to us as we move forward.
Experiencing Unique Worship
We intentionally attended as many unique worship services as we could, gaining perspective from the pew on creative ways to add meaning to worship. The breadth of variety in worship styles and elements was amazing. We also read several books about divergent churches, stewardship, and ministry and leadership in the 21st century.
Stewardship Conference at Luther Seminary
We attended the national "Rethinking Stewardship Conference" hosted at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN. We heard imaginative ways to engage people in responding to God's generosity.
Our visits with mission developers, worship experiences, readings, and stewardship training give us hope for the future. Messiah is prime to join a hardy group of congregations blessed with human and financial resources and the spirit of experimentation to engage ways of gathering and serving as the body of Christ suited to the 21stcentury.
Time with Family
On a personal level, the sabbatical gave of us the gift of meaningful time with our family and friends. Peter's mother experienced two episodes of hospitalization and rehab, first with a fractured shoulder and, more recently, a broken hip. The sabbatical allowed us time to be with her in the hospital and rehab.
Most importantly, this sabbatical allowed us to slow down and notice God's abundant gifts that come to us daily. We hadn't realized just how muddied and tangled our thoughts and reasoning had become. We will let you be the judge as to whether the space and time to rest has brought us clearer minds. We'd like to think it has.
Again, thank you for this gracious gift. We will be sifting through our notes and learnings and sharing them with the Church Leadership Team and staff. We look forward to the fall and all the good work God will put before us.