Buses, Trains and Automobiles- NO PLANES

Big news! I am taking renewal leave this year.

From time to time there is a need for pastors to recharge and reconnect with God. United Methodist clergy are encouraged to take extended time away from pastoral duties for needed rest and spiritual renewal. The United Methodist Book of Discipline outlines several ways in which pastors may experience rest, renewal, and spiritual growth: 

A clergy member may request a formational and spiritual growth leave of up to six months while continuing to hold an appointment in the local church.  Such leaves are available to clergy members who have held full-time appointments for at least six years.  Such a leave shall be with the approval of the committee on pastor-parish relations, the church council, and the district superintendent.  - Par. 350.3  

Renewal leave is different than sabbatical leave. There is no content to present. Clergy typically use this kind of leave to pursue a hobby or passion, or simply rest. Some learn to play the guitar or take poetry writing classes. One of my passions is baseball. I have been on a journey for several years to visit all of the Major League ballparks. So far I am halfway through. I have kept a running diary over the years, writing brief reviews and ranking the ballparks. The last update was May 2022, when James and I visited Progressive Field in Cleveland. Check it out:


My pilgrimage will allow me to finish the tour, traveling by Amtrak in the Midwest, California and Florida. I will also make a trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY and the Louisville Slugger Museum. Fun fact: I will see the Texas Rangers twice on the trip! 

My leave, approved by our District Superintendent, Rev Todd Harris, and Grace’s Church Council last year, will begin the day after Easter, April 10, and continue through  June 30, 2023. 

Which ballparks, you ask??

Chicago White Sox

Detroit Tigers

Toronto Blue Jays 

Philadelphia Phillies

Cincinnati Reds

Milwaukee Brewers

Minnesota Twins

 Oakland A’s 

San Francisco Giants 

San Diego Padres  

LA Angels 

May 14-16: Christymas

May 21: James bday

May 26: Miles graduation

June: Tampa and Miami

Rev Harris, and Rev Cammy Gaston, Director of the Center for Leadership Development for the North Texas Conference, will name an interim pastor, who will be responsible for Grace's pastoral duties while I am away. 

I have never taken leave in my 2 ½ decades of full time ministry. I ask for your support during this needed time away. It will allow me to receive God’s care for myself and return rested and renewed, ready to continue in God’s service.