Just as scripture commands the seventh day of the week, or Sabbath, to be a day of rest, for Episcopal clergy, every seventh year is meant to involve a period of rest and re-creation. This period, called a sabbatical,” lasts as much as three months and involves study, reflection, and other activities meant to nurture the pastor's soul. While Peter is eligible for a sabbatical this year, he is delaying his leave until the summer of 2019 when Giulianna will be eligible for hers.
With the vestry's approval, he has begun working with a small committee to make preliminary plans for Nativity's pastoral and administrative needs and also for what would be refreshing and energizing for Nativity in his absence. This committee, which includes Kathy Whicker, Sally Howard, Catherine Kidd, and Hank Lamb, is also working on a grant application which could help fund activities for both Nativity and the Gray family.
At its best, a sabbatical is meant to nurture the relationship between pastor and congregation and leave both energized and more ready for ministry at the conclusion. If you have ideas as to what would be refreshing for Nativity next summer, let the committee know!