Pastor’s Corner (2/3/2022)

 In Pastor's Corner

“A snow day is a little gift from the universe.”

Have you noticed how excited people get about a snow day? I think the above anonymous quote says it well. As children, we knew that a snow day meant a day off from school. But I don’t think children are the only ones to get excited about the unexpected gift of pause that a snow day can bring. The more structured and busy our lives get, the more we relish the opportunity to take a pause. In her book Pause: Harnessing the Life Changing Power of Giving Yourself a Break, author Rachael O’Meara describes the importance of taking a break. She describes pauses that range from a few moments to days, weeks, or months. Through telling her own story and sharing stories of others, she describes why taking a break can be so important. In the first chapter she asks an important question “what would you do if you chose the power to pause for a few minutes, an hour, a day or any amount of time?”

I found her book as I researched taking a pastoral sabbatical. Part of my contract with FCC is that I am eligible for a sabbatical after serving the congregation for 5 years. A pastoral sabbatical is defined as: “a structured period of Sabbath rest and renewal.” During my recent meeting with the PRC (Pastoral Relations Committee), I brought up this issue. As we talked, a plan began to take shape. The hope is that this period of rest and renewal would not only be for me as your pastor, but would also bring rest and renewal to the congregation. Right now, we are discussing a 3 month (ish) sabbatical during the summer of 2023.

As I move toward my 6th year with FCC this year (1 as the interim and 5 as the called pastor), we all come to a pivotal point in our ministry together. I am currently the longest service pastor in about 15 years. Over the years, there have been several pastoral transitions and various interims. But after these transitions, we now find ourselves in a more stable position. Currently, it is quite common to undergo a pastoral transition after 4 or 5 years. It is my sense that all of us would like to see our ministry together continue.

Another unusual and important aspect is the continued challenge of COVID-19. Life in the midst of a pandemic has changed everything for all of us. We have all had to shift and reimagine our work and our lives. With all that, and probably other things I am not aware of, it seems time to plan a shared sabbatical. I am in the beginning phase of planning and I hope to apply for some funding that will assist us. I am looking forward to an extended period of rest and renewal. As I ponder what will be restful and renewing for me, I invite the congregation to ponder the same thing. What would bring rest and renewal to the congregation? Would bringing in a special speaker or presenter for a day or a weekend be renewing? Perhaps inviting someone to be in residence, like a musician or artist? Would sharing in a book study or shared activity bring some new energy and excitement? As I begin dreaming for myself, I invite all of you to do the same. Let me know what thoughts and dreams come to mind. Pray and seek guidance from God.

As we move forward, may we be open to the movement of God’s Spirit as we continue to seek renewal. How might we all take some time to pause? O’Meara defines a pause as “an intentional shift in thought and behavior.” Such a shift can open us up to the re-creation and renewal that God yearns to bring us as individuals and as a congregation. So, what would you do if you chose the power to pause?


With love and joy, Pastor Karen

Pastor Karen


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