Let me tell you what didn’t happen this summer.
I did not come down from Mt. Sinai with a tablet on which a vision for Furnace Brook had been written by God’s own hand.
I did not find in times of reflection a solution to every one of the things that had made the sabbatical necessary.
I did not have even one epiphany or moment of “spiritual breakthrough.”
But, and this is important, I also did not write a letter of resignation.
Instead I arrived at the end of August with a deeper conviction that God is good, that he loves me, and that he is pleased to have us for his people in this place at this time.
Over the summer of sabbatical lots of important things happened. Rev. Ed Elliott, our former pastor died and we grieved his loss. I performed the wedding for my oldest daughter. My family and I worshiped at lots of different churches. The Tates spent time in Rochester, Chicago, and Minnesota visiting adult children and the Solie’s. I met with a spiritual director and invited her into my spiritual life.
Slowly and imperceptibly things changed for me. I laughed more readily. I behaved with more energy and zest.
And while it’s good that Furnace Brook’s pastor is back and can testify that the sabbatical accomplished what we hoped it would, the really good news about this past summer is about Furnace Brooks congregation! No church in our position could have done three months of sabbatical better.
The variety and quality of speakers, the increasing depth and vitality of our worship team, and the many ways in which people stepped up to make church work in all sorts of personnel arrangements shows that we are, in a sense, a much bigger church than our size would indicate.
It is so, so good to love and serve Jesus, and to be able to do it together as a church is almost too much of a good thing. Praise the Lord!
Furnace Brook Wesleyan Church Blog