by The Rev. Dr. Stuart Baskin
I’m going to take a pause from my series of articles on the history of our church to speak more personally.
Three years ago, we celebrated my 10th anniversary as your pastor. During that celebration, we talked about the possibility of a sabbatical as a way to celebrate that milestone. As most of you know, the time for that sabbatical has arrived.
Some weeks ago, the Sabbatical Committee solicited your help in making this time possible. Many of you have given generously to make it happen. A portion of the money will help defray my expenses during my time away, and a portion will make it possible to increase Pam Leach’s hours as she and Jenni Marshall share duties as interim Heads of Staff. And part of the money will enable the church to bring in some guest preachers, some who grew up in the church, to come and help you reflect on our church’s heritage.
Now after months of planning, the time is on hand. On Sunday, May 5, I will formally lay aside my duties and place them in the capable hands of Pam, Jenni, and the rest of the staff. We will formalize this transfer of authority during the 11 a.m. worship service. Then I will disappear from view until the beginning of September.
Three things must be said as I prepare to leave:
First, do not think for a minute that because I am not with you on a day to day basis that you will not be in the forefront of my thoughts. I could no more not think about you than I could stop breathing.
Second, in the spirit of sabbatical rest, and following the advice of many who have undertaken sabbaticals, I will be truly out of communication. I will turn off my email and leave the day to day running of the church to the staff. They are more than capable of providing for the ongoing pastoral needs to you, the flock.
Last, but certainly not least, I am truly grateful for your generosity in providing the time and the funds to make this sabbatical possible. I will spend some of my time with my family in Scotland. I will spend a great deal more time at our family home in Marlin, where I will relax and read. I have a stack of books that I am very eager to dive into. Amy and I will spend some time traveling to West Texas in July to visit the McDonald Observatory and take in some of the rich history and beauty of that part of the state.
I am very excited about this time and I anticipate returning rested and ready for many more years of ministry with you.