Skip to main content

Pastor Frank’s Sabbatical Plans


June 5 – September 2, 2013
Rationale: United Methodist pastors, per our Discipline, are entitled to take up to three months off (does not count as vacation time) for renewal or study after ten years of full-time service. I am finishing my 11th year. I am requesting time away, which will include some renewal time, but the majority of the time will be spent working on a sabbatical project.

Purpose: I believe Oak Lawn UMC has the potential to be a prototype congregation for urban ministry in the 21st century. We are intentionally inclusive and welcoming of everyone. We offer hands on service opportunities. We excel in the worship opportunities we offer. Our facilities offer spaces that invite hospitality, are beautiful, and point to the beauty of all God has made. I want to use these months to explore, interview, question, observe, and participate in churches around the country that have lived out a similar mission and purpose for many years. The ultimate goal, working through the Church Council, is to establish a real, vital, tangible vision for Oak Lawn for the next ten years following the sabbatical period—2014 – 2023, leading us into our 150th anniversary (September 2024).

Funding: I heard recently that the Lilly Foundation provides grants for pastors seeking renewal/sabbatical leave. Reading more about the foundation, I discovered the deadline for applications for next year is this Friday, May 11! A completed application assumes: 1. Your enthusiastic blessing 2. My commitment to return to Oak Lawn as pastor for at least one year after the sabbatical (Duh!) 3. The Conference guaranteeing my appointment for that same year. 4. Oak Lawn pays my compensation during my sabbatical. Is Lilly funding necessary for the sabbatical? No. It will impact the scope of the sabbatical—but I intend to do what I can if I do not receive financial support from Lilly.

Churches I will explore: Foundry UMC, Washington, DC; Riverside Church, New York City; St. John’s UMC, Downtown Houston; GlideMemorial UMC, San Francisco; and Fourth Presbyterian Church Chicago. These churches are urban, historic, in mid/up/downtown locations, are intentionally diverse and inclusive, and offer real opportunities for ministry for their members.

Pastoral Care for Oak Lawn during the sabbatical: I have every confidence in Pastors Kerry and Gregg. They are both gifted pastors and preachers. If I receive Lilly funding, part of that money is used to compensate interim pastors during my absence, not only for preaching but for pastoral care and support. Oak Lawn will not be lacking in attention to worship or its members in any way.

I hope and ask for your blessing on this project as your Staff/Parish Relations team has offered theirs. It will have lasting benefit, not just for me and my family, but for the Oak Lawn family. The lessons learned and observed—by me, staff and key leaders of OLUMC who will accompany me on some travels—will be challenging, exciting, and fulfilling. Since hearing of this possibility, more than one person has said, “Oak Lawn has needed something like this for a long, long time.” Everyone is invited to an information session this Wednesday, May 9, at 6:00 p.m. for further discussion. Thank you for your support.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Famous Black Cat Band

This week my former high school band director, Mr Reinke, died. Mr Reinke is a legend in my hometown of Bay City. He was the leader of our Black Cat Band for many years. He was a fiery man, a perfectionist with extremely high standards. He was a gifted musician. He and I both played the trombone; one of us sounded like a goose being strangled. The other sounded like... well I can't think of a metaphor to properly describe Mr Reinke's horn. It was amazing. He would pull that thing out occasionally to show us how to properly play a part of a song and the sound was spellbinding. 
Mr Reinke was very innovative in his music selections. He had us playing the most random music, from popular stuff of the day by Michael Jackson to Also Sprach Zarathustra (popularly known as the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey) to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. This song in particular was a great choice-- it's amazing, complicated; however, this was the late 1980s. The song was originally released…

Grief Is a Powerful Thing

"So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the Gospel of God but also our own selves." 1 Thessalonians 2:8
My first couple of Sundays at Grace, early in July, a couple of different people asked me this question immediately before worship: "How are you feeling?" My response: "Terrified." This was met with sort of shocked looks, then afterward the same person would say something like, "See that was ok." I've always been nervous before preaching-- the ramped up nerves help me to focus on my task and give me energy. But this seemed stronger. On Saturday nights my first couple of months at Grace I would hear an inner critic saying, "You're not prepared." "You're going to bomb today." Most Sundays he was wrong. A couple of sermons did bomb, but that happens. I decided to seek out a spiritual director to help me discern what was going on with me. I knew it was internal, but couldn…

a response to gideons international

last sunday prosper united methodist church welcomed representatives of the gideons to share about their ministry. how many times have you stayed in a hotel or visited someone in the hospital and found a gideons Bible there? and while no one can argue that reading the Bible is a bad thing, or that distributing Bibles to others in native languages is inherently harmful, i would like to offer some thoughts on the practices of the gideons, as they were described at church.

1. bravo to the gideons for distributing 73 million Bibles last year. however, most of the Bibles they sent were tiny new testaments with psalms. i am a Christian, and i love the words of the new testament. but those words have their foundation in the old testament, and to remove thousands of years of traditions and stories of God's powerful love and acts of salvation diminishes the power of the whole Bible. we must never forget that the old testament (or "first" testament or "hebrew Bible"…