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Tidings Article 2001

Completing the Circle: Sabbaticals at St. Timothy’s

For a number of years, St. Timothy’s has provided a 3-month sabbatical for its clergy on a six-year rotation.  Sabbatical is a time of refreshment and reflection.  It is time for assessing “ how am I doing?”  It is a time to set new goals for both work and personal life to assure you have a reasonable balance.  It is a time for the priests to recharge their batteries for whatever God is calling them to do in the years ahead.  But this process of looking in the mirror and talking to God about these questions is also hard work.

During my first time as Rector’s Warden Steven took the first sabbatical.  As part of the planning process, we talked to other parishes about their experience.  We learned that we should be deliberate about the sabbatical, plan for it and when the priest returns engage in an equally deliberate process of “completing the circle” by working through a discussion of the priest’s goals and the needs of the parish.

In my second turn as Rector’s Warden God has given me the opportunity to be part of this discernment process is now working its way to completion with Elizabeth.  She has been working with Steven to discuss her goals, her spiritual journey and her fresh perspective on what she believes God is calling her to be and do in her priesthood.

In my role as the Rector’s Warden I have a special duty to support all the priests in our parish.  I take that responsibility seriously.  In this case, I have also met with Elizabeth to talk through what she learned in her sabbatical journey, what she feels are her priorities in that work-life balance, and what she feels God is calling her to do in this parish community ahead.  In her companion letter in this issue of Tidings you will hear for yourself about the choices and priorities Elizabeth has made to complete this circle.  I have said to Elizabeth that I believe the members of this parish community will respect her choices, celebrate her renewed sense of focus and purpose in her ministry work, and rejoice in the future she is planning in our parish with the same high enthusiasm and joy.

As this issue of Tidings goes to print, Steven and Jane are away on vacation, but as Elizabeth and I met with him to plan this communication, we also started the discussion about the process of transition these decisions mean for the parish.  Steven will have more to say about that when he returns from vacation and after we’ve had time to consult with the Vestry and plan the logistics to help Elizabeth complete her circle.

Meanwhile, rejoice with me in Elizabeth’s ministry in this parish and give thanks to God for breathing renewed energy into the ministries of her heart He is calling her to serve.

Gary Hunt

Rector’s Warden

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