Westminster has a policy that pastors be entitled to a sabbatical their eighth year of employment. I find it hard to believe that eight years have past since I made the move from Los Angeles to San Jose. On June 7, 1998, I signed the terms of call and officially began as pastor of Westminster on August 1st, 1998. These last eight years have been wonderfully full of energy, enthusiasm, love, and joy. I have found Jesus to be very present in our common life together at WPC. I feel so blessed and privileged to serve, to follow, to laugh and to weep with the part of the Body of Christ that meets on the corner of Shasta and the Alameda. When my life was hit with tragedy, I was so thankful to be part of such a strong loving church.
The sabbatical is not in the nature of vacation, but rather is intended for career development and personal growth and is considered to be part of a Pastoral Staff member's job duties. I am looking forward to a time of rest and renewal, study and growth.
Rev. Nancy Schell and Rev. Judy Joy have graciously agreed to serve as co-pastors during the sabbatical. They are currently working with the personnel committee toward a division of responsibilities. They will work as a team, but will provide care and leadership for different areas of the church. Rev. Judy Joy will be returning to Westminster in October.
I encouraged the church to support and pray for Nancy and Judy as they take on extra duties during these months. I'm so glad to have such a great staff and I know the church will be in good hands. I have every confidence the church will continue to move forward in the vision God has given us. There is a momentum at Westminster that has little to do with me and everything to do with members catching the vision and moving forward in the things of God.
Sunday, October will be my last Sunday in worship before the sabbatical. My sabbatical will begin October 23, when I return from the 2006 Transforming Church Conference. I will return on February 4, 2007. I'm hoping and believing that the sabbatical will a time of rest and renewal to prepare me to enjoy many more good years of ministry at WPC.
Sabbatical Main Focus:
A time for personal and spiritual retreat and renewal. Oct. 23, 2006 - Feb. 4, 2007
• Meeting weekly with a spiritual director for direction and reflection.
• Journaling and writing.
• Reading books about preaching, personal spirituality.
• Planning 12 months of preaching
There is an appointed time for everything.
And there is a time for every event under heaven-
A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.
A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.