Many companies and organizations use employees for their skills. Yet, many never provide employees the opportunities to develop new skills or regenerate their spirit. One-way organizations can give time for renewal is through the use of sabbaticals or paid time leave, generally for a specific purpose. Our National Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), encourages our pastors to take sabbaticals.
The past two years have been particularly stressful for many of us. Pastor Tobias has not only ministered to us during the pandemic but also ministered to our day-to-day physical and emotional needs, all while inventing new ways and implementing new technologies to bring God's word to us both in-person and remotely through the Internet.
Redeemer's Council and our Synod have granted Pastor Tobias a sabbatical. The Council's goal is to continue to have the talents and dedication of our pastor while providing for renewal. Including a two-week vacation and a four-week sabbatical, Pastor Tobias will be away from July 23rd until September 1st. The pastor's goals for his sabbatical include deep rest and renewal, including a mission reset.
We, too, have an opportunity for renewal. The church council has recommended that we proceed with the following program during the pastor's sabbatical.
- The use of supply ministers during the pastor's vacation.
- During the four weeks of the pastor's sabbatical, we have been invited to attend a worship service at the Methodist Church one week and another week at the Episcopal Church. This also serves our ecumenical goal of better understanding our shared faith and differences in liturgical emphasis. We also intend to use lay preachers for two Sundays to bring some of our practical and living experiences of our faith.
It's a wonderful and exciting time for Pastor Tobias and the congregation. If you have any questions about this time of renewal, please feel free to reach out to our Council members.