Sabbatical Summer Reflection

Did we wish Elizabeth Godspeed on her sabbatical just yesterday or was it months ago? As with many things in life, both perspectives apply. The summer flew by, as it always does, and yet it also seems like she’s been away for an eternity. I think we were all a little apprehensive about her leaving us to fend for ourselves, but again, our merry little band rose to the challenge.

There were joyful moments. We experienced worship with three different priests, who brought their own unique talents, experiences, and insights to us. We continued Dwelling in the Word, and with our Going Local experiment. Ginger and Angie manned a booth at the National Night Out event where they connected with our neighbors and heard their stories. I continued Going Local at Ellis Island. Just yesterday I discovered that a ranger I’d been working with for the last two years was near the base of one of the towers on 9/11 and barely escaped. He was open to sharing his story, though only if one asked the right questions. I was glad I took the time to do so.

During the summer months, worship moved in to the newly refurbished chapel (which some of our members did not know even existed!). The experience was cozy, intimate, and uplifting. I think we were all moved (some to tears!) when we laid hands on both Kaile and Sara and offered our thanks and prayers for their high school graduation and safe and seamless transition to college. The vestry continued providing guidance and leadership during this time as well, each member bringing their own unique talents and experiences to benefit one common goal. Elizabeth’s absence also exposed one of our members’ hidden gifts, as we discovered when Brenda led us in articulate, contemplative, and beautiful prayer at the conclusion of our meetings.

We had challenges as well. A funeral for the family member of a lapsed parishioner had us all scrambling. But we came together and covered all the bases, and I understand it was a beautiful service. We continue to deal with unexpectedly losing our tenant and how that will impact us.

But we have faith that things will work out. We all care passionately about this church community and our church family, and we are grateful and thankful that Elizabeth will be back with us soon. We look forward to hearing her stories and sharing ours. We know she will be returning with renewed energy, focus, and guidance, and we can’t wait to see what the future brings!

— Ruth Portela

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