It is wonderful to be back with all of you after the gift of this sabbatical summer! Marco, Krysia, and I are grateful for this time of rest, reflection, and renewal and are glad to be returning to the faith community of First Christian Church. I trust that your time together led by our dedicated Ministry Planning Team was one filled with opportunities for rest, renewal, and reflection for you as well.

One word that could describe our summer travels is adventure. Adventures are exciting, unusual, unscripted, and full of surprises that keep you on your toes. No matter how you may want to plan and dictate the details, you find it is impossible to control everything. This was certainly our experience. Due to a death in Marco’s family, we began our travels two weeks earlier than planned and by traveling to the place we originally scheduled at the end our trip. So, from the start, everything was turned around. We threw out our whole itinerary and found ourselves planning along the way, open to opportunities as they arose and giving ourselves the freedom of flexibility and trust that even through shifting scenarios everything would be okay.

This experience reminded me of the many times major life plans have changed unexpectedly or in very different directions than I had imagined or hoped for. It reminded me of stories in the scriptures of people whose lives were upended through a call from God. It reminded me of changes affecting all of us due to living the last year-and-a-half through a pandemic. We all have had plans changed or unfulfilled. We have had to be flexible and open to doing thing in completely new ways. We have had to trust in God’s faithfulness and presence with us. We realize now we will also need to continue to trust through flexibility as we move forward. As we reunite as congregation and pastor, I pray we will embrace an attitude of adventure, openness and flexibility to hear the Spirit speak and guides us as we seek to reflect God’s faithful presence in the world.

I look forward to sharing more of my sabbatical time and our trip and to hearing about your experiences this summer over the next several weeks.