Many of you are aware that I am in the final year of my Doctor of Ministry degree at Gardner Webb University. It has been a tough – but fun and rewarding – two and a half years of reading, writing and collaborating with my fellow cohort members and my professors. Now, my final hurdle is the write-up and defense of the ministry project, which is the D Min’s version of a dissertation that I implemented here at the church over the course of the four Sundays in October. By the way, many thanks to the 136 members who participated in the experiment. I have been working through the results and trying to make sense of the outcomes and conclusions with respect to my original ministry hypothesis. This is where my sabbatical comes in. Jim Dant and the Personnel Committee have approved my request to take time early this year (January 7 to February 10) to focus on the writing of the project paper and on the preparation for my defense in April. My primary areas of ministry will be in the good hands of my ministry assistant, Jennifer Craig, and the two committees with whom I work on a regular basis – the Spiritual Formation Committee and the Outreach Committee. Thank you all for supporting me and pulling for me during the times I have been working and in school (first in seminary and now with my doctorate), which probably feels like all the time to my wife and family! Thanks, also, for this opportunity to get away and focus on finishing my degree. I’ll be back before you know it, serving and loving the congregation that has served and loved me for so many years.