At North Beaver Creek’s 2013 annual meeting the congregation voted to apply for a sabbatical grant from the Lily Endowment. This grant would give the pastor up to $50,000 for three months of carefully planned renewal, prayer, and respite. $15,000 of the $50,000 can be used by the congregation to pay for it’s own renewal activities and for the pastoral supply while the pastor is away.
NBC went for the whole $50,000 and got it! Thanks to the hard work, creativity and diligence of the NBC grant committee (Phil Borreson, Tracy Grinde, Scott Omernick, Bill & Leslie Pfaff, and me, Pastor Liz). When the grant committee submitted the proposal the budgets for the congregation and for me were included. That means that the money comes designated for certain projects (like the amount to pay the supply pastor, etc.)
Before I go into more details about the grant, I’d like to say how humbled I am to receive such a huge gift - from the Lilly Endowment of course, but mainly from you. It is a big deal that you are allowing me the grace and time for a Sabbatical. I wish everyone could have one (every person could use an all expense paid three month break at some point in their lives!). I am very fortunate and still cannot quite believe it is really going to happen.
So. The Sabbatical: The current plan is for me to be away May 20 - August 20. While I am away, two people will be called in to cover the pastoral duties. It doesn’t take two people to do the job, but this is a way to give an international student the opportunity to experience ministry in a vibrant rural congregation while we get to learn from someone who comes from a culture very different from our own. The other person will be a retired pastor familiar with NBC who will make it a smooth transition while I am away.
I hope that by hearing new people share the word of God through preaching, leading worship, and visiting in your homes that this time will be one of joy, spiritual growth and new perspectives.
The overall theme of the Sabbatical is Now the Feast and Celebration. My time away will focus on learning how to cook, working on storytelling skills, and taking in the beauty of Norway. In other words - a feast of welcome (hospitality through food), word (storytelling), and wonder (Norway).
All this leads to a greater conversation about the life and ministry of North Beaver Creek. NBC is a great place - you are a generous and welcoming people open to new ideas! Now, how to we translate this into becoming an inviting people? I believe this is the big question that will help shape us to be a lively congregation well into the future. I hope the Sabbatical will help jump start this conversation.
Thank you for this great gift of a Sabbatical and please join me in the spirit of Sabbath as we look for ways to bring renewal to our congregation and community!