Twenty-five years ago, on June 5, 1994, I was ordained into the ministry of word and sacrament in the ELCA. A lot has changed in my life and in the ELCA in the past 25 years, and I’m so grateful that 17 of these years I’ve been a pastor at Holy Trinity.
At first I was named Pastoral Associate for HTLC while I worked full time in the ELCA Commission for Women. As Pastoral Associate I preached every six weeks, presided monthly and provided a pastoral presence on Sunday mornings. Beginning in 2005, shortly after my twins were born, Holy Trinity extended an official call as Associate Pastor; I worked one-third time at HTLC and one-half time as a hospice chaplain. Just three years ago, the pastoral expectations shifted again and I now work half-time; preaching monthly, presiding weekly, providing pastoral care, creating a youth group, coordinating hospitality with primary leadership responsibilities for family ministry, children’s education and social ministry.
Twice during my tenure at Holy Trinity Pastor Mueller has been blessed with sabbatical opportunities. Once I jokingly asked on Facebook, “When do half-time pastors get to have a sabbatical?” I never expected to actually get one, but thankfully, Pastor Mueller and the personnel committee proposed a six week sabbatical for me to take during the summer of 2019.
During the six weeks of sabbatical I will rest from the daily work I’m called to do at Holy Trinity. It’s the most important reason for a sabbatical, in my opinion, so that through rest and relaxation, I will be rejuvenated for continued ministry for many years to come.
My hope is to rejuvenate--breath new life into--spiritual practices that will restore my spirit and help me be more centered in my relationship with God. I get so busy most days, that I don’t take time to breathe, relax, meditate, dream. During these six weeks I’ll intentionally set aside time to rest--go to the beach, take walks in nature (without headphones) or read novels just for fun.
One of my favorite places to rest and rejuvenate is Holden Village in the Cascade Mountains. It’s a Lutheran retreat center tucked away in an old mining village. The last time I was at Holden I was pregnant with the twins, and I look forward to returning to this beloved place where I can hike in the mountains, learn from village guest teachers, worship daily, eat healthy vegetarian food and be creative on the weaving loom or pottery wheel.
Another focus of my sabbatical is to reconnect with family and friends. I plan to do getaways with each member of my family, one-on-one. Spending time alone with each family member is really important to me, especially now that my kids are teenagers. Because I work every weekend it’s impossible to go away for a short period of time. I look forward to reconnecting with them on a more personal level, when we can just play together and talk.
The third part of my sabbatical is to reorganize our living space. Actually, this was my first idea for sabbatical. I thought, “Oh good, I’ll finally have some time to clean the basement.” Thankfully I have good friends who reminded me that sabbatical is about rest, not more work. However, I’m still eager to do some decluttering and stuff management as a spiritual practice.
I’m grateful for this sabbatical opportunity to rejuvenate, reconnect and reorganize this summer. I’ll begin the sabbatical with two weeks vacation time at the Sevig family cabin on Green Lake in Minnesota, starting July 19th and return to Holy Trinity on September 11.
Thank you to everyone who has contributed financially to subsidize the cost of the sabbatical. There are no sabbatical grants available for part time ministers, so we were relying the generosity of the HTLC community. Thank you for making this sabbatical dream a reality!