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by Sari Ateek, Rector
This coming September marks seven years for me as your rector. I count my blessings daily for the gift of being able to serve such an open-minded, inclusive, compassionate and caring faith community, and look forward to our joint ministry in the coming years.
This summer (June 5 – September 5) I will be going away on Sabbatical. Derived from the word “Sabbath,” a Sabbatical is typically taken in the seventh year and is intended to provide the rector with enough distance from his/her day-to-day responsibilities in order to cultivate a renewed sense of mission, purpose, and direction for his/her ministry. Typically, this is achieved through study, rest, spiritual renewal, and mission re-alignment, so that the rector can return and contribute even more fully and energetically to the ministry and mission of the church.
These three months will be for me primarily a time of study and travel. My studies will take place at Virginia Theological Seminary as I continue in my doctoral program (DMin), and my travels will take me to two places: Italy and Thailand. The first is a life-long dream deeply connected to my interest in the history of The Church in the West, and the second (a family trip) is my attempt to branch out to a continent I’ve never been to, and to engage a world religion that I have a growing interest in studying – Buddhism.
The length of a Sabbatical for the rector of St. John’s is historically a generous six months. I have chosen to only take 3 months at this time and will explore with the vestry the best way to approach the remainder of the Sabbatical leave in the future.
I am currently working with your church leadership to plan for my absence, including an amazing line-up of guest preachers who you will not want to miss. In the coming weeks, I will be providing you with more information on the logistics of St. John’s in my absence.
Thank you for the ways in which you invest in me, and as always, I welcome your prayers for me and for the work and ministry of our church.
Grace and Peace,