I am going on vacation for a couple of weeks. I will be back in the pulpit for Father's Day. Then my church granted me six weeks bereavement leave. As I wrote to them:
Dear Friends,At the last session meeting, Tuesday, May 14th, the session graciously offered me bereavement leave with pay in addition to my contracted study leave and vacation time. This is very generous and appreciated. I wasn't quite ready earlier, but now is the time that I am ready to take this leave. I will be gone for six weeks from June 17 through July 28. This is a light time on my calendar and it happens to coincide with the year anniversary of losing Zach.
Rev. Don Steele will provide pastoral care including funerals if needed. I will also be in Montana next week and miss two Sundays, June 2 and June 9. I will be back the week of June 10-16.
Here is the worship schedule:
June 2 Phil Steffey
June 9 Don Steele
June 16 Me
June 23 Rich Fifield
June 30 Phil Steffey
July 7 Kip Elolia
July 14 Rebecca Nunley
July 21 Bill Kirkwood
July 28 Don Steele
As you know, Bev ended her position at Dobyns-Bennett on March 15 and this time of bereavement has been incredibly valuable for her. I am looking forward to spending time with her. She will line up the music for this period at church. She may or may not be present at worship. Being out of D-B and present at church has been good for her. She will do her own thing in regards to that but she will make sure all the music is covered.
I will be taking a full break from church. My tank is on fumes. I am not sure what I am going to do, but I know a lot of it will be going through a lot of Zach's stuff and cleaning out a lot of things. I may be in town or not. But I won't be doing anything church related, except to clean out stuff. I will keep the radio program, although even there I may run a few reruns. I don't have a plan! : ) We will be present to Spirit.
Bev, Katy, and I are very grateful for this congregation. One of the new members who joined on Pentecost Sunday told me that one of the reasons she was joining this church is because she saw the love this congregation had for us during this time. That says a lot. It is the truth.
If you have questions about the specifics of the leave, you can talk to Don Steele or to any of the session members who were at the meeting, David Roane, Carol Ann McElwee, Jennifer Gardner, Jeff Wardeska, Michael Clark, or Kathy Wing.
One thing I do worry about is that people might slip away when I am away. Our congregation needs everyone's support (time, talent, treasure, you know). I hope that you all will participate in the life of the community including worship during this time. Who knows, perhaps the congregation itself can find ways to forge deeper bonds.
I love you all...