A fellow church member told me Wednesday evening, “I’m a little jealous of your planned sabbatical.” I understood the sentiment. We both enjoy biblical study, eastern religious thought, and music—all the things I will be engaging during my weeks away. My response was, “I’m a little jealous of your time here during my absence.” While I will enjoy this prescribed time of study and rest, I will miss some wonderful worship leadership!
For my time away, I’ve engaged what I’m calling ‘Our Neighbors’ Voices’ to fill the pulpit. Ministers from other churches, denominations and faiths have agreed to be our proclaimers during this sabbatical period. They are some of the finest clergy in the Greenville area. You will not want to miss: Rabbi Sam Rose of Temple of Israel, Rev. Dr. Matt King of Augusta Road Baptist Church, Rev. Jennifer Fouse Sheorn of Triune Mercy Center, Rev. Susan Crowell of Trinity Lutheran Church on North Main, and Rev. Michael Schnatterly—retired and highly respected Episcopal Priest. Again, I am jealous. These ministers will be following our lectionary texts and sharing—what I know will be—engaging and insightful wisdom. Their presence will be a gift and a guidance for our church.
I would encourage you to pray for each of them as they prepare to lead our congregation in worship. I further encourage you to be present for each of these worship services. I need the time off, and you need to hear a different voice—a different perspective on scripture and life. Remain engaged, and my time of sabbatical will make all our lives richer and deeper.