I have exciting news to tell you all! No, we are not expecting…. But we are anticipating a celebration of life in a different way. The elders at NFC have approved a four-month sabbatical from April 18 to August 18 of 2016. Below is the letter I wrote almost a year ago as we began this process to consider a sabbatical.
I am excited to say that we did receive a grant from the Lilly Endowment that will cover some staffing expenses during my absence as well as some funds for our family to travel during this time away. These four months will include:
– A Monastic Life Retreat at the Trappist
Abbey in Lafayette. I will don my robes, move to the Abbey, and live with the brothers for a month. This will give me a chance to settle into a different rhythm of life for the first month of the sabbatical.
– Time to be with family, rest, and explore some of God’s creation here in the Northwest.
– A chance to explore our family roots in Scotland, Ireland, and Switzerland as well as our Quaker roots in England. We plan to not only see the sights but consider our “Wallace” roots around the area of Stirling, stay at Swarthmoor Hall (once home to George Fox and Margaret Fell/Fox), and travel through London and Paris en route to Switzerland. My great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, Johannes Marolani, (born 1717) was a pastor in a little church in Versam that is still being used to this day. His body was buried in the floor of the church, and we look forward to visiting and exploring that area and other beautiful areas in this country. I have always wanted to go to Switzerland, so this is a dream come true!
This is such a gift to our family and we are very grateful for the chance to take some extended time off and away. The plan is to increase other staff hours a bit and also bring a part-time intern to join the team during my absence. I look forward to being back “post-sabbatical” with new eyes and an open heart full of what God will teach while I am gone.