From the Rector
Beloved of God,
As our Sr. Warden announced this past Sunday, we are on the cusp of an exciting season at Canterbury. This summer marks 8 years of my ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church, and 3 years as your rector. 8 years of sprinting uphill, pursuing God’s dream for the Church, has rendered me thoroughly exhausted in body, mind, and spirit, and I am ready to step back, pause and catch my breath. (After 3 whirlwind years of movement, change, and growth at Canterbury, I imagine you’re ready to pause and catch your breath, too!) Following our services this coming Sunday morning (July 8th) I will begin an extended sabbatical, with the intention of returning to Canterbury in early February, refreshed, renewed, and ready to continue journeying with you into the future God has prepared for us.
During my sabbatical, Fr. Ted Curtis will be serving as interim Priest in Charge at Canterbury. Some of you may remember that I invited Fr. Ted to lead some classes/workshops at Canterbury on Centering Prayer during the Fall of 2016. Fr. Ted will be serving Canterbury on a half-time basis during my absence. He is a profoundly faithful and gifted priest, and we are honored to welcome him to guide and minister with us in the coming months. Fr. Ted will begin his ministry among us on Sunday, July 15th.
The coming months offer both the Household of Canterbury, and me, as your rector, a unique opportunity to step back, reflect on the road we have been traveling together, and chart our next steps on the journey. The coming months will offer all of us a chance to rest, heal, listen, discern, and step boldly into the future to which God is calling us.
During this sabbatical season, I plan to devote my time to three principal projects: Spiritual Rest & Renewal; Family; and ongoing Vocational Development. My sabbatical plans for Spiritual Rest & Renewal include retreat time and pilgrimage as well as regular therapy, coaching and spiritual direction. My sabbatical plans for Vocational Development include continued study of Congregational & Family Systems Theory, and intensive study of Spanish. (The latter has been on my to-do list for more than 20 years! I can’t wait to get started! Vamanos!)
It is customary, during a rector’s sabbatical, for a congregation to undertake specific projects related to renewal, learning and growth in the rector’s absence. Your vestry, with the ongoing support of our diocesan CLAD (Congregational Life & Development) Team, consultant Shelley Drake, and interim priest Fr. Ted Curtis, are well prepared to lead the Household of Canterbury in making the most of this important congregational sabbatical work. There has never been a better time in the life of our church for each one of you to step up and discern your call, hone your skills, and offer your gifts for the building up of the Household of God at Canterbury. The work before us in the coming months promises to be both enormously challenging and enormously life-giving. Embrace it all: Take risks! Explore possibilities! Make mistakes! Experiment! Fail! Learn! Grow! Hope! Pray! And above all: Love!
I will be remaining in Albuquerque for much of my sabbatical, and will undoubtedly see you from time to time in the coming months. I ask your prayers for me, my family, your vestry and wardens, Shelley+, Ted+, the CLAD team, and the whole household of Canterbury during this sabbatical season. Be assured that you remain in my daily prayers, as well.