As David mentioned at our Annual Meeting, I will be taking a sabbatical beginning June 1 and returning August 20. This August, I will have served here at Redeemer for 9 years. When my family and I first arrived, Grace was 9, and Ben was 2. Today Grace finishes her last academic day of high school, and Ben and I will shop for snacks for his 11th birthday party.
I remember the day I finished my final “GOE” (General Ordination Exam) in seminary. Feeling relieved and elated these God-awful exams were over, I went to get my mail from my mailbox. Inside was a small envelope with a notecard from Paul Tunkle, then-rector of Redeemer, asking if I might be interested in beginning a conversation about serving at Redeemer. We spoke on the phone shortly afterwards and talked about me coming down from New York for a visit and to meet some key folks. It turned out that one of these key folks was one of my second grade teachers from Bryn Mawr, Mrs. Nancy Baker, who was the director of Redeemer Parish Day School back then. Ahhh, “Smalltimore”.
From my perspective these 9 years have gone by quickly. Thanks to all of you and to the staff here at Redeemer, I have learned what it means, and how to be, a priest and a pastor. I continue to learn, of course, everyday, and I hope to continue learning and growing into this vocation that is as life-giving and challenging as motherhood.
People have asked me, “What are you going to do on your sabbatical?” My truthful answer is not very exciting or inspiring. I am, simply, going to rest. Spend time with my family. Reflect on the past 9 years and dream about the next 9. Tend to physical, emotional and spiritual needs that need to be tended to.
In mid-July, I will attend a week-long “healers’ retreat” in Yelapa, Mexico with a close girlfriend of mine. In August, David, Grace, Ben and I will spend 2 weeks in Southport, ME, where I will be a guest preacher at All Saints-by-the-Sea (and where Henry Lowe will be playing the organ!). Shortly after, David, Ben and I will drive Grace to the University of Maryland, College Park, where she will move into her dorm room at Hagerstown Hall, meet her roommate, and begin her freshman year in the honors college. And then I will return to all of you, my body, mind, heart and soul the richer, for having been away for a time.
Thank you for being a community that supports this sacred and life-giving gift of sabbatical time. Thank you for being faithful travelers along The Way. And whatever the summer brings, may you and your loved ones enjoy your own sabbath times of rest, refreshment and renewal.