The Sabbatical Is Near!
It is really hard to believe that the First Lutheran Church Sabbatical is just a few weeks away, beginning on May 1! We started this process two years ago and it was a year ago that we applied for the Lily Grant that made this all possible. Yet, here we are on the cusp of all the hard work we have done coming to fruition.
To celebrate the beginning of the sabbatical we will gather for ONE worship service on April 30. Bishop Kirby Unti will be here to help us bless our sabbatical. We will also have our confirmation students affirm their baptisms on this day. Following the service there will be a potluck celebration in the Fellowship Hall. It promises to be a fun send off.
Pastor Berg will begin his part of the Sabbatical by taking two weeks of down time at home before embarking on an extended camping trip around the Northwest. He will camp on the Olympic Peninsula with his brothers, walleye fish with his best friends on Banks Lake and enjoy the Oregon Coast with Susan. He then will take a month to travel out to Minnesota to spend time with old seminary classmates at the end of June and the beginning of July. Susan and Tor will then head to Scotland for 10 days then fly over the water to Molde, Norway to visit the cathedral where our founding members came from. They will then travel up to Trondheim to visit Pastor’s family. August will be a time of retreat for Pastor Berg before he returns to our pulpit on September 10.
FLC will begin its time with a book study of Diana Butler Bass’ book “Christianity After Religion.” We will welcome Sister Liz Colver to teach during the adult education hour and she will also be in the pulpit on May 14. Rev. David Ellingson will be in the pulpit May 7, 21, 28 and will teach two journey classes on his kayaking adventures on May 7 and 21 in the evening. Rev. Mary Lindberg will be our preacher during the months of June, July and August. Rev. Anje Helmon will be proving Pastoral Care during the sabbatical.
What a great gift for this congregation and Pastor Berg: to take a breath in the midst of our good work together, to hear new voices share the Good News and to challenge ourselves to think differently about our ministry.
PROVIDING PASTORAL CARE:
Rev. Anja Helmon
PREACHING AND PRESIDING:
Rev. David Ellingson
Sister Liz Colver
Rev. Mary Lindberg
For more information on the candidates click here.
What is a Ministry Sabbatical?
A ministry sabbatical is a period of time, 3-6 months, when pastors and other rostered leaders and congregations set aside a leader’s normal responsibilities for the purpose of rest and renewal toward sustained excellence in ministry. A ministry sabbatical is a release from the routine of the call for the physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual well-being of the rostered leader.
Wheat Ridge Ministries gives us this biblical understanding for a sabbatical:
The word sabbatical is drawn from Sabbath. The Hebrew word for Sabbath means to “close or rest” and is connected with the last day of Creation when God rested. (Genesis 2:3) God both models and commands Sabbath rest for his people. “Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy.” (Exodus 20:8-11)
Jesus affirmed the importance of rest saying, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27-28) The Biblical example of Jesus’ own frequent withdrawal to a quiet place to meditate, pray and be renewed is a model. In His ministry, the constant demands of people led Jesus to step away on a regular basis.
See also: Genesis 1 and 2; Exodus 20:8-11, 23:10-12; Leviticus 25:1-7 (Sabbatical Year), 24:8-25 (Year of Jubilee); Psalm 23; and Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.
Roy Oswald, formerly of the Alban Institute, suggests that the rapid change and complexity of congregational life and ministry raises the need for three months of sabbatical rest and renewal every four to seven years. He believes that 20% to 30% of ministry leaders he speaks to are in a state of severe burnout. Another 20% of the same audience is on the way to severe burnout.
The ELCA encourages every congregation to have a sabbatical policy and to encourage their rostered leaders to take a sabbatical.