“We live a life of departures,” one of my seminary professors once said. “We are given all these opportunities to practice and prepare for the final departure,” he went on to say. That’s why goodbyes are hard. There is loss and grieving around goodbyes, just as there is loss and grieving around change and death.

In ten days, I will be saying goodbye to Christ Church for six months, leaving on sabbatical from March 1 to September 1.  So this is a goodbye for now. That’s different than a final goodbye. I will return in six months and it will be a different church. It would be anyways because a lot can happen in six months, but under the bold leadership of our new Interim Rector, John Branson, whose job it is to gently shake things up in preparation for the permanent rector, this will not be the same church I leave. And I will be different, too. I have been given a grant to develop parts of myself that haven’t yet found soil and space to grow. I very well may want different things, have different goals when I come back. I hope so. This time of sabbatical is about restoration of soul and body and relationships. If the sabbatical works as it is supposed to, it will inevitably create new priorities for me. And when I return next fall, we will engage in the process of getting to know one another again.  And there will be some surprises for all of us. That is the nature of separation.

I ask you to pray for me that I will hear clearly God’s call for me in this next phase of my life. I will certainly be praying for Christ Church that this incredible faith community will also hear clearly God’s call for the next phase of its life. I look forward to reconnecting with you next fall, to share the stories of our separate journeys and to discover the new ways God will bring us together to minister to this broken world.

Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. Glory to God from generation to generation and in Christ Jesus forever and ever. Amen. ~ Ephesians 3: 20-21