Dear Members & Friends of First Presbyterian Church,
When we accepted a call here, just over five years ago, this congregation gave us an incredible gift. At the recommendation of the Minnesota Valleys Presbytery, you included a Sabbatical in our Terms of Call. A Sabbatical, as recommended by the Presbytery, is at least 3 months of leave after 6 years of service for the purpose of clergy renewal. Five years ago, Sabbatical seemed a distant dream. Now, it is a swiftly approaching reality! And we would like to share some information about our upcoming Sabbatical:
What is a sabbatical?
A sabbatical is not continuing education and it is not an extended vacation, although it may contain elements of both of those. A sabbatical is not an opportunity for us to search for a new call. A sabbatical is an intentional season of spiritual renewal, an opportunity to reconnect to life giving activities, experiences, and spiritual disciplines that will revitalize the ministry we share with you. In taking a sabbatical, we are committing to a continued relationship with this congregation and are being intentional about continuing that relationship in a healthy, life-giving way. A sabbatical can be a season of intentional renewal for the pastors and the congregation. The theme for our sabbatical is God Sightings. We will be exploring new opportunities and ways to encounter God in the world and in our lives. While we are engaged in that journey, there will be opportunities for all of you to engage in intentional time together – in study, fellowship, and prayer – to pay attention to your God Sightings and the ways you connect to God.
When will this take place?
Our sabbatical is scheduled for the summer of 2019, Memorial Day through Labor Day (May 27, 2019 – September 2, 2019). This is the least disruptive time for us to be away from the congregation, and it allows our family to experience sabbatical together, as Abigail will not be in school.
Who will pastor the congregation while we are gone?
The church will hire a temporary supply pastor to preach, provide pastoral care, and facilitate renewal activities while the pastors are on sabbatical.
How will we pay for this?
Every year, as part of the pastors’ salary package, $2000 has been set aside for sabbatical. These funds will be used to pay the salary/honorarium for the temporary supply pastor. The Sabbatical Task Force completed a grant request to the Lilly Foundation. They offer a grant of up to $50,000 to churches for the purpose of clergy renewal. That grant, if awarded - we find out in August – will cover the cost of renewal activities for our family and for the congregation. If we don’t receive the grant, sabbatical will still happen! It just won’t be as ambitious. We will pay for our clergy renewal activities out of our own savings; the church will plan renewal activities that fit within the annual budget.
How can I learn more about this?
There is so much we would love to share with you about what we will be doing for clergy renewal, what the church will do for renewal during our time away, and how we will celebrate the leave-taking and return. If you would like to learn more about sabbatical and how your Session is preparing for this, please watch for more information. We will be holding informational gatherings this summer – yet to be scheduled - to give you a preview of what is to come. We look forward to sharing this with you!
Please know that we are available for conversation, and we are happy to answer your question. This is an exciting opportunity for us and for the church! Please, in the coming months, keep sabbatical in your prayers. Please pray for the Lilly Foundation team making decisions about grants, pray for the plans our church is making, and pray that this would be a time of spiritual renewal for all of us.
In Peace,
Pastor Scott & Pastor Leanne
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News and Events


Sunday, May 20th 
8:45am        Adult Ed
9:00am       Youth Led Sunday Practice
10:00am      Youth Led Worship
11:00am      Fellowship 
1:30-3:00     150th Harrison Church Celebration

Wedneday, May 23rd
7:00am        Women's Bible Study

Thursday, May 24th
6:30pm        Session

Sunday, May 27th
10:00am        Worship
11:00am        Fellowship


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