Every ten years The United Reformed Church gives Ministers the gift of a 3 month sabbatical. It is an opportunity to be refreshed, to study, to find space to take stock of the way we respond to God’s call. Ten years ago, I spent time at music festivals; amongst emerging worship communities and at Westminster College reflecting upon the nature of gathered communities. I learnt a lot and was able to develop some new ideas and ways of working.
On September 1st I will begin my second sabbatical, returning on St. Andrew’s Day. This time I will focus on Poetry. I enjoy writing poetry and discovering the poetry of others. I find that poets can speak to the soul, share the insight of ordinary moments and dig deeply in our emotions. I will spend time reading, responding, researching, reacting. I will review the many poems I’ve written and seek advice on whether they should be shared more widely. I will attend workshops that will help me explore my own writing and submit some to competitions, publications and open mics. It might be that in three months time I’ve scratched an itch and can return to a more sporadic writing style – but conversely, perhaps I will be more confident taking poems into vulnerable places where new conversations can begin.
The Elders’ Meeting have discussed how we cover my absence. Sunday’s are covered, Elders will lead their own meetings and the Church Meetings. They will continue to take responsibility for pastoral care and call on Yvonne Stone if there is a need for ministerial help. I’m planning Christmas material already so that I can walk straight back into Advent. My hope is that you will hardly notice I’m missing because thankfully our style of church does nor rely on having a Minister – we are one part of a team of people quite capable of covering three months absence.
What you chose to advance your faith will be the very thing that you will hate about your faith. (The little monk after having lived ten years among his brothers)
You may be able to follow what I’m up to at http://speechless.blogspirit.com
See you in December
be blessed, Craig