With the change of seasons and the days growing shorter, I’ve been taking stock of the passage of time. Can it be that I have been your minister now for nearly 18 years? A quick glance in the mirror – where I am greeted by a gray beard, rapidly graying hair, and facial lines galore – confirms the fact that Heritage and I have taken several “trips around the Sun” together since you called me to be your minister way back in 2002.
Thus, hard to believe as it may be – perhaps for you, and I assure you for me – the time is rapidly approaching for my next sabbatical. This one will be quite a bit different from our two previous sabbaticals, however, in that I will continue working on the operational development of Heritage Acres, while taking a six-month leave from ministerial duties at Heritage Church. The Board and I are calling this a “hybrid sabbatical” (see detailed sabbatical outline elsewhere in this Heirloom) – which essentially means that unlike a more traditional sabbatical, I will continue to have some degree of ongoing interaction with certain church members who are involved, in one way or another, with our natural burial ground, Heritage Acres Memorial Sanctuary.
My sabbatical will begin February 1. I will return to full-time duties at Heritage Church on August 1. This timing was intentional, both to maximize my availability for Heritage Acres during its most crucial developmental stage, and to assure that I am back and fully focused on pastoral needs within the congregation before the most intense part of the 2020 election season. (It goes without saying that in our current cultural climate, next year’s election, and its aftermath, will be anxiety-producing and stressful for all of us.)
If you have thoughts, questions, or concerns about the upcoming sabbatical, please do not hesitate to contact me, or any member of our Committee on Ministry or the Board of Trustees. I can assure you that we’ve lined up an outstanding array of guest ministers and speakers to lead worship during the first half of 2020, including both my Cincinnati UU colleagues, Rev. Connie Simon of First Unitarian Church and Rev. Mitra Jafarzadeh of St. John’s. Other UU ministers will be joining us from South Bend (and yes, he does know Mayor Pete), from Columbus, from Lexington, and even further afield – while my Heritage colleague, Rev. Leslie Woodward, will be leading several intentionally all-ages-friendly worship services.
It is a fun, unique, and exciting time at Heritage. As Rev. Leslie often says, “Won’t you join us?”