02 May Diocesan Sabbatical Letter from Bishop Stewart
Dear Clergy and the People of God of the Upper Midwest,
Greetings in the name of the Risen Lord!
I am writing to you after just having returned from visiting the Minnesota Deanery this past weekend where two youth were confirmed and Pete Berg was ordained to the diaconate—praise the Lord!
The Deans Council and the Bishop’s Council also met in Minnesota, and it was a profound time of seeking the Lord in the Gospel work he is calling us into in the Upper Midwest. I can honestly tell you that we have never been more unified in the work of the Diocese and in partnering with all of you as we build our foundation on a revival of Word and Sacrament infused by the power of the Holy Spirit.
As some of you may recall, I first brought the news of my summer sabbatical to the rectors at the end of 2015 in our first budget WebEx meeting, and again to everyone who was at our Clergy and Spouse retreat in March. Now, to the greater diocese, let me explain: Many years ago Resurrection developed a sabbatical policy for our staff, before that policy was developed, I served Resurrection for 13 years without taking a sabbatical. After that happened, the Vestry agreed that I could take three consecutive summers of short sabbatical time, and then take a longer sabbatical in 2013. However, 2013 was the year when I was elected bishop, and so we had to postpone it. The ensuing combination of diocesan responsibilities and difficult timing meant that my longer sabbatical had to be delayed until this summer.
My sabbatical will begin Monday, May 2nd and I will return to the Cathedral on Wednesday, August 10.
Our family is deeply thankful that after 24 years of full-time ministry, and right before starting our 20th year of ministry at Resurrection, and our 4th year of diocesan ministry, we have this opportunity for extended family rest and a season of focused prayer.
We have always done ministry as a family, and so we live the joys and the pressures together. As important as this sabbatical is for me as a pastor, it is also vital for Katherine and the children to have time away from the challenges and pressures of local church ministry.
You may be wondering where and what we’ll be doing while on sabbatical… I have four main goals:
- Prayer: I am very excited about having more time to spend in prayer with the Lord.
- Play: I am so looking forward to extended opportunities to be together as a family and to spending time in nature playing and exploring.
- Read: I was a lit major in college, and I anticipate spending long hours reading over my sabbatical. My primary focus will be novels, plays, and poetry. However, I probably won’t be able to resist biographies, American history, and some leadership books.
- Write and Study: During this time, Katherine and I will be developing a series on personhood and sexuality for Resurrection. Katherine and I would also love to do some writing together, if time and energy permit.
We will be in the area for the first three weeks of May. We will then leave as a family for Brazil on May 25. I will be in Brazil until August 2, and Katherine and the children return August 8.
As many of you may know, Katherine was raised in Brazil. This country is deeply important to her and us, and so we are excited for the children to experience this place in an extended way.
We will be spending our first month there in São Paulo, staying with Katherine’s family. Her parents are longtime missionaries there. During the second month, we will be hosted by Brazilian Bishop Miguel Uchoa in Recife. I am excited to continue building a global partnership with our Brazilian brothers and sisters as I connect with the Anglican church there.
I am really thankful to the Vestry of Resurrection and the Bishop’s Council of the diocese for the funding they are providing to make this possible. Also, while I am looking forward to rest, I am extremely excited about coming back in the fall and serving and leading the vision of a revival of Word and Sacrament infused by the power of the Holy Spirit.
If you need anything while I’m away, Canon William Beasley, email@example.com, is the person to contact for anyone in the Greenhouse Deanery, Fr. Eirik Olsen, firstname.lastname@example.org, is the contact for anyone in the Wisconsin Deanery and Fr. Christian Ruch, email@example.com, is the contact for both the Minnesota and the Greater Chicago Deaneries. Brenda (firstname.lastname@example.org) is also available if you need anything, however, she will be taking an extended time off July 1-31 and will not be available during that time, Chris Easley, email@example.com, will cover for her while she is away.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop Stewart E. Ruch III