Minister’s sabbatical

Dear Friends,

The sun is streaming through the windows, the forsythia is in bloom, and this morning the weather forecaster reminded us that today is the equinox so it is now officially Spring. And this week we heard the long-awaited news that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has at last been released and is home.

When there is so much trouble in the world, we need all the cheer we can get. I was greatly heartened at our Annual Church meeting this morning, when we elected two new elders – Margaret and Kaye – and confirmed John as Church Secretary. We are so blessed to have such gifted people serving our church in this way. In fact, we are blessed in all the people who do so much to keep the Church and the Church Centre running.

I am particularly glad just now that the church is in such capable hands, because I am about to go on sabbatical for three months. The URC gives ministers this time for learning, for spiritual refreshment and professional development; my plan is to reflect on biblical passages through prayer and artwork. I’m very grateful to both St Andrew’s and Wembley Park for making my absence possible, and to our lay preachers, worship group and visiting ministers who will be leading the services while I’m away.

In practical terms, I will be based most of the time in the manse, so I can still be a good neighbour when it comes to things like taking donations to the foodbank. However, I’m not available for any of the normal work of ministry. If you need to speak to a minister for pastoral or spiritual matters, please contact John Mitchell and he will put you in touch with an appropriate person.

The three months (April-June) will take me from today’s equinox to just past the summer solstice. That means for almost the whole of the time, the days will be getting longer and lighter. I hope that the physical light will be mirrored by inner lightness, so that when I come back in July I will be rested and restored and able to bring new energy and insight to my ministry here.

Meanwhile, I pray that you will continue to support and pray for one another, and that you will know God with you at all times.

Every blessing,