Canon Britt begins sabbatical July 29
The practice of sabbatical for clergy has become normative over the past twenty years. Its purpose is to allow for rest, reflection, deeper learning, reconnection and renewal. My first sabbatical in 2005 focused on congregational development, new and emerging models for church and ways to become more deliberately intercultural. I traveled to 15 different dioceses in the U.S. and New Zealand, attended four conferences, met with scores of different clergy (including then Canon Barry Beisner and the Rev. Canon Kent McNair), and was an observer at the election of the Maori Archbishop of New Zealand. I had a lot more energy then!
In August I begin a very different type of sabbatical. Over the past 6 years we have all been working towards a different way of being a diocese. This has involved turning over every stone in our diocesan edifice to examine it and find out if it still fits or should be discarded or used in another setting. It has been challenging, exciting and very demanding. It was very gratifying to hear the results of the diocesan and congregational leadership survey in January which made it clear that we are in a very healthy position with high levels of trust, enthusiasm and energy.
We are in a different place and I am in need of a different kind of sabbatical. For the past 9 months I have been working with a wonderful support team to discern and plan for the gift of these three months. One of my goals is to re-connect with my calling as both Christian and priest. The other is to begin to recover physical, spiritual and emotional health through good practices of exercise, prayer and rest.
For most of August I will be at the coast, Fallen Leaf Lake and Yosemite spending my days hiking and my evenings reading. On September 4, I leave for South Sudan with two former missionaries. I will bring vestments donated by many of our clergy and congregations as well as greetings from both our Presiding Bishop and our Bishop. I will be asked to lead a workshop on evangelism and to preach. I imagine many other opportunities for connection, learning and service will emerge during my visit. For many years, since some of the “Lost Boys” became members of my congregation in Nevada, I have had a heart for the people of S. Sudan and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be with them. I expect to be challenged and inspired. Finally I will spend a month in the U.K. with my best friend there. Bryon will join me and we will travel to Iona for a week-long retreat in that very holy place. My final week will include visits to both our families in the Pacific Northwest.
My first day back in the office will be November 6. While I am away our very competent staff will assist the Bishop in covering my responsibilities. Please do not hesitate to contact them if you have any questions or concerns. I will send monthly reports (with photos) from my new I-pad!
I am very grateful to our Bishop for this opportunity and to you for your continued prayers and support. This means so very much to me. Please do keep the people of S. Sudan and Bishop John of the Diocese of Ezo (pictured above) and Bishop Peter of the Diocese of Yambio in your prayers.
With faith, hope and love,
Sat, July 21, 2012
by Thea Mangels filed under