Sabbatical: A Time of Renewal

Here at St. Peter’s we are in our 5th week of Rector Elizabeth’s Sabbatical — and all is well. In an attempt to stay connected to each other during this time, we have developed a blog on our website to share our stories and keep in touch.

So what have we been up to? Lots!

Reverend Fletcher Harper graciously joined us to celebrate Holy Eucharist for our first two Sabbatical Sundays. He spoke with us about the Greenfaith initiative he is involved with in the Diocese and commended us for our work on our facilities in conjunction with Greenfaith. Our congregation also commemorated Rogation Sunday on May 21st by “beating the bounds”. This was done in former times, giving thanks and asking for God’s blessings on our church and surrounding property for a bountiful year ahead. It was a beautiful morning to walk the grounds of our church and reminded us to be thankful and show gratitude for all that we have here at St. Peter’s. Thank you Reverend Fletcher for joining us and sharing your thoughts and experiences with us.

On Sunday May 28th, we held our first Sabbatical Sunday of Morning Prayer led by Janice Woodruff. It was a beautiful service and we had the pleasure of wonderful music complements of our devoted choir members and organist Hector. As a congregation, we have chosen to take the opportunity to use the sermon portion of our Morning Prayer services this summer to “Dwell in the Word”. It is a practice of devotional bible reading that we have adopted through the Diocese’ Going Local initiative. “By practicing listening to one another we can open ourselves to listening to God as well as our neighbor and within these stories we are continuing to see God at work ahead of us.” (Alan Roxburgh- from Joining God, Remaking Church, Changing the World.) We have chosen the passage from Luke 10 verses 1-11 to focus on this summer, Jesus Sends out the Seventy. Dwelling with this passage many times in the past 2 years or so we are always so amazed that each time it is read each of us can pull something different from the reading. Hearing so many different interpretations of the reading over time the passage begins to shape the imagination and identity of our group. ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few’, ‘Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves’, and ‘The Kingdom of God has come near to you’ are just a few of the lines from the reading our parishioners chose to share resonated with them. Our congregation is looking forward to going deeper into the passage this summer renewing our faith and continuing to use it to connect to one another, to God, and our neighbors.

On Sunday June 4th, we were blessed to have Reverend Bob Solon officiate our service of Holy Eucharist and celebrate Pentecost with us, the Fiftieth day of the Easter season. Reverend Bob spoke of the Holy Spirit as the ember within us and challenged us to go out as Jesus asked his disciples to do, and share our faith with others. We were also able to recognize our wonderful Sunday School teachers and students during our service and thanked them all for their hard work and dedication to continuing to learn this past year. The congregation also honored parishioner Kaile Britt by “laying our hands” on her to wish her well as she moves into to a new chapter in her life. Kaile will graduate High School later this month and is off to study in Vermont at Castleton University. Pentecost is a wonderful day to participate in the laying of hands, a practice which is associated with receiving the Holy Spirit. Thank you Revered Bob Solon for being with us today and looking forward to seeing you again in two weeks!

We continue to light our “Elizabeth candle” each Sunday so that we are reminded you are with us in spirit each time we gather. Blessings to you as you enjoy your time of reflection and renewal.

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