About This Sabbatical

March 03, 2023 • Rev. Rob Fuquay

Hopefully you received a message from our Staff-Parish chair, Lynn Black, announcing that the church is applying for a Lilly Endowment Sabbatical for me in 2024. If you didn't you can access it here. The email includes ways to share spiritual support and encouragement, and I am grateful for that! Let me share now a little more about this. 

The United Methodist Church encourages pastors every four years to take a month long mini-sabbatical for renewal and enrichment. I have been delinquent in doing that. As well, we are encouraged every seven years to take a 3-month sabbatical, which again, I have not gotten around to doing. I took a sabbatical 21 years ago, so this seems like a good time to repeat.

The Lilly Endowment provides a generous grant for pastors to do "what makes their heart sing." I confessed in the Ash Wednesday sermon that I wasn't even sure what that is anymore. So this has been a spiritual experience of rediscovery. Mountains have always made my heart sing. Literally! I start singing when I'm in the mountains. You should hear me!

Anyway, one of my bucket list dreams is to do a trek to Everest Base Camp. I've always wanted to see Mt. Everest in person. So, Susan and I are applying for a mountain experience (yes, she will do it with me! Go girl!!) that would take use to the Himalayas, Alps, and end in the Rockies. The goal is to reconnect with God, family, and others. This journey will take me to the place in France where the Fuquay family originated. With the death of my father I have a new hankering to understand where I am from (yes, lots of layers there!). It will also allow us to return to England and reconnect with people who were very formative in my early life and some people I may not see again. The sabbatical will end in Colorado where I will spend time with my grandson and think about what I want to pass on to the next generation.

All of this will prepare me to return to you, a church I have been so privileged to serve, with renewal to think about what we will do together for the remaining years I have with you as your senior pastor.

The great news is that you will get to share in this renewal. While away, we want to invite a few speakers to come to St. Luke's to lead us in reconnecting with our heart and soul in our mission to help ALL people find and give hope through Jesus Christ. And after I am back, we believe this experience could result in a churchwide retreat that gives us all a "mountaintop experience."

That's a very brief synopsis, but that's what all the hub-bub about a senior pastor sabbatical is about. The next sabbaticals will involve our other pastors, especially Pastor Eric, who has been with us 8 years and is due for his own renewal!

The Lilly Grant recipients are announced in August, so we won't know til then. But if there are any changes, I'll be sure to let you know!

Rev. Rob Fuquay