Noticings – August 10, 2022


August 10, 2022

5 days, 1 hour, 36 minutes, and 21 seconds. That’s how much time there was to the start of my sabbatical leave when I began to write this Noticings on Tuesday. The countdown is on – literally, I have an app on my phone and everything. This will be the last Noticings for quite a while. It will be on hiatus until I return on November 14th.

The word ‘sabbatical’ is derived from the spiritual word ‘sabbath’. It comes from the first chapter of the bible, in Genesis. As the poetry describes the creation of the world it speaks of how after the work was done that God rested. Well, if it’s good enough for God, it’s good enough for me! On the sabbath day people are invited to rest from their work. There are also sabbath weeks, and sabbath years spoken of in the bible. For United Church ministers a 3-month time of sabbath is granted for every 5 years of service in one church. My last sabbatical was in the autumn of 2015. I’m very ready for another. My mushy brain and reduced resiliency are telling me that, loudly.

I will be spending my sabbatical attending to the 3 main pillars of such times – body, spirit, and mind. Mostly it’s a time of rest and rejuvenation. I hope to re-establish better patterns of sleep and exercise and rest. I intend to play music from morning to night. (My new guitar awaits!) And I will be doing some learning and thinking about how to help people who are not physically in the church building (because of distance, or situation, or illness, or even preference) to have a full experience of membership.
How do we go beyond just watching a livestream worship?
How do we go beyond just setting up a camera in a study group or meeting and including someone via Zoom?
How do we help people create enfleshed spiritual community wherever they are?
Can someone who lives in Toronto, or Regina, or Tokyo have as rich and deep a Faith United experience as someone who lives within walking distance of our church building?
I hope so! That’s what I’m giving my ‘mind’ to on my sabbatical. Church and technology, beyond just worship.

While I’m apart I need you to do something hard. Ignore me! Even though I’ll be in Cobourg it should be like I’m away on a Tibetan mountainside on a 3-month retreat. (Gosh, I hope it feels like that!) In my absence Faith United will be extremely well-served by a wonderful minister named Rev. Nancy Knox. I’m so grateful that she will be in leadership with you. Nancy will be doing half-time ministry, covering worship, key meetings, some time in the church mid-week, and handling all pastoral needs.

This coming Sunday, August 14, will be my last one for a while. At noon, after worship, my countdown timer will be all zeroes! I will miss you, and I can’t wait ‘til Sunday. I hope you can appreciate how both of those are true at the same time. The countdown is on. One more sermon, and then the rest…

Rev. Larry