Julie’s Jar: Sabbatical



Two months from now I will be on sabbatical. My last Sunday is June 15th. I will be around one more week before leaving to complete my duties for Quadrennial in




I am deeply grateful for this gift of time away from usual duties and for the generous impulses of the congregation where I serve God. Planning for this time began a year ago. I’ve struggled with what “to do” during a time that is supposed to be defined by not doing.


The word “Sabbath” comes from the Hebrew word that means, “cease”. How does one make plans to “cease”? As you know, I am not much of a “ceaser”.  Being useful and feeling useful give meaning to my life. Additionally, I do not want to squander the generous gift of time you are giving me.  It is important to me to be a good steward of that gift.


I am approaching this sabbatical time as a space and time to engage in practices I too often put off for later. Like many people I put off what is restorative for what is distracting. Music is a spiritual practice for me. The discipline of practicing is restorative. Taking lessons insures there is accountability for practicing so I will be taking lessons.


I have dabbled in a number of spiritual practices on my own. It’s been a long time since I sought out the wisdom beyond books and personal learning.  Seeking out additional wisdom requires I go somewhere. I am attending at least three retreats and two different centers. One is with other Disciples of Christ leaders. It is an experiential retreat exploring a number of spiritual practices, including Reiki. I will be present to practice Reiki with others. The other two retreats involve direction in lectio divina (sacred reading) and Leadership and the Rule of Benedict.  Lectio divina  is a contemplative practice. The retreat I plan to attend will lead participants in ancient and modern versions of the practice. The other retreat is lead by an oblate of the Benedictine community who has taught leadership graduate studies for over 20 years.


My children and husband are part of my call and our family community is restorative. We are exceedingly blessed to have all of us together for a 2 week period this summer. It is such a gift to have this time with family during sabbatical when I must practice the discipline of ceasing from work and striving.


There are books on a list to read, writing I want to attend to regularly and of course, tending our garden along the way. I am resisting filling up the space of sabbatical so I have space for serendipity and leadings of the Spirit in the midst of the journey. Thank you for your support and generous gift. I will miss being with the community of faith and will pray for you and our congregation.



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