The Adventure Continues -
Back From A Sabbatical Month
There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God – Hebrews 4:9

Greetings Friends! I’m Back!

To catch you up – the Presbytery graciously agreed with my request for a “rolling” Sabbatical. Our presbytery policy recommends that those in service to congregations or the presbytery be granted a Sabbatical after service of seven years. For me, somehow in the blink of an eye, I went from being the “new Executive Presbyter” to having been in position for 10 years. That period of time involved denominational tumult, the emergence of new presbytery leaders and structures, and has been a compelling time in Mid-Council Ministry. It is Never Dull in Donegal.

The sabbatical plan that works best for me and my family is to plan for a sabbatical adventure each year over the next three years, with a sabbatical month each year. The 2020 plan was for a month-long family trip in May, celebrating our daughter’s graduation from college, her engagement, and the bittersweet joy of what will probably be the last family extended trip. The timing was carefully planned to avoid Presbytery Gatherings and other key events. Spoiler alert: The May trip never happened.

Scheduling complications meant the trip needed to be rescheduled and I’d need to miss the September Presbytery Gathering. We did make our trip to Florida, where we were scrupulous with Social Distancing and Masks, and returned without ill effects. We had a great time together, and it was indeed a season of Sabbath-Rest. What stands out:

  • The Excellence of my presbytery colleagues! What fabulous leaders we have! What competence! What a Joy! Without our amazing leaders and staff, there is no way that in the middle of Covid-Tumult I’d ever have been able to break away for a month. Special thanks to Stated Clerk Michael Wilson and Executive Administrative Assistant Chrissy Wells for doing their jobs and mine as well, particularly with the rigors of a Presbytery Gathering.
  • Return: The Current Craziness of Our Lives! While we were away, the weather was great. We walked 10-13 miles every day. I returned to the reality for many of us of 10-13 Zoom meetings a day. The blessing of being away for awhile means that I am experiencing afresh how challenging and difficult our current realities are. I am trying to make sure I am more intentional about scheduling time to be outdoors and to keep my body and soul moving. There is no end in sight as we go into the season of surges, cold weather and other illnesses. I am planning to continue the goodness of life beyond the screen.

  • Play, Fun and Aliveness I have a cherished Peanuts Cartoon. In the first frame, Charlie goes to see Lucy the Psychiatrist. "I feel down and dull," he explains. In the second frame, Lucy says, "You have a life, don’t you?" Charlie responds. "Well, yes." In the third frame, Lucy says, "Well live it, then." And in the final frame she says, "Five cents, please." There’s nothing like riding a roller coaster for pure fun, if you’re me. But there are all kinds of other ways to bring more play and joy into our lives. What do you love to do? How can you do more of it? That, every day, is the gift of sabbatical rest for the Beloved People of God.

Joyful Blessings to You All,

Erin Cox-Holmes