Dear Ones,

So here we are, halfway through our 9th year together as Minister and Congregation, and I am about to up and leave you for longer than I ever have before. I’m finally taking some sabbatical months: three this winter (January through March) and three the following spring (March through May, 2020). Technically, “sabbatical” means a year of rest and renewal time every seven years. Today’s reality is a bit different. My agreement with you is that I accrue sabbatical time at a rate of one month per year, to be taken no more than six months at a time. This is a common benefit for UU ministers, and recommended in our Association’s Fair Compensation guidelines. University professors also often receive sabbatical time. And these days progressive corporations are also recognizing the benefit of giving their workers extended “fallow time” in which to rest, explore, and fill their creative well.

My years five, six and seven felt a bit too tumultuous for leaving you, but the Board and I think the congregation is in a good place at this point for weathering my absence. Truth be told, one of the strengths of UUFSB is your ability to take care of business on your own. I’d like to think that I have helped to strengthen that capacity, but effective lay ministry also just seems to be in your DNA. And you’ll have plenty of support. I divided my sabbatical into three-month increments so that I can begin and end each year with you. This winter three UU ministers will cover a month each of emergency pastoral care call. All my preaching spots are filled with clergy from a variety of traditions. Our worship and pastoral care teams are experienced and capable. Your Board is strong, watchful, and responsive.

I will be at home for the first two months. I am not ghosting. If you see me somewhere, we can talk. But, as best we can manage, I will be absent to you and you will be absent to me, untethered from one another, and mutually responsible for taking in the gifts and challenges of that freedom. In March, Linda and I will travel South to Civil Rights sites in Tennessee and Mississippi, and we’ll join a UU Living Legacy Tour in Birmingham (3/20-24). Until then, I will be concentrating on exercise; a weekly class on Judaism at North Shore Jewish Center that goes through February; reading, reading, reading; some special professional projects, and a radical “letting go” and looking up and deep.

The Sunday 12/30 service (Caitlin Corrigan-Orosco preaching!) will include a short ritual of leave-taking and a send-off of sorts. I hope you can be with us for that. Click here for info about how to get help in my absence. 

“All manner of thing shall be well.”