Sabbaticals: Periodic Sabbath Rest  – A sabbatical is a period of rest with a purpose.  Rooted in the Old Testament is a command for rest in a pattern of sevens:work six days, rest on the seventh; work the land six years, allow it to rest in the seventh, etc.  During the Middle Ages, schools of higher education began to grant their instructors leave of absence every seven years to help them renew their passion for their subject.  The pattern of work-rest is as important now as it was then and it is within this context that the pastor sabbatical was created.

It has been found that a sabbatical strengthens and further develops a pastor’s ability to serve the church.  Pastors typically gain new perspectives, deepening their own insight and positively affecting their preaching and service.  Pastors become renewed spiritually through rest and education and typically come away from sabbaticals with renewed passion and vision.  At the Annual Meeting in November, the Congregational Council reported that, in accordance with the Guidelines for Sabbatical Leave of the Lower Susquehanna Synod (every seven years) and in recognition of the toll that our renovation project has taken on him, Pastor Reep has been granted his second sabbatical at St. Paul’s.  Some of you may not remember Pastor Reep’s first Sabbatical 6 years ago, granted well past the first seven years of his ministry with us!  He enjoyed time painting in Italy, visiting family across the U.S., learning at Chautauqua Institute in N.Y., and relaxing with friends at the lake. He returned with a passion and vision for St. Paul’s that brought our building into the 21st century, opening up ministry potential for us to live into our mission, “To teach the world that God is love”.

A subcommittee has been appointed to work with the Bishop and Pastor Reep in this process.  It is the plan for Pastor Reep to enjoy a sabbatical in the summer of 2021 (yes, that would be 8 years but he’s been rather busy!).  The subcommittee will update the congregation with every step of the planning process and share more information about sabbaticals over the next year.  Look for the special “Sabbatical Box” in the upcoming newsletters, bulletins, and easel boards.  Questions can be addressed to the sub-committee members:  Harold Sargeant, Rhada Hartmann, and Joe Kinkella.  Please pray for the subcommittee as it works towards a plan for a much needed and deserved Sabbath rest for Pastor Reep and the church.