Always, We Begin Again – Sabbatical 2021

In January 2020, I began putting together the framework for my sabbatical this summer. I kept coming back to this phrase from the Benedictine Rule of Life, “Always, we begin again.” St. Benedict offers this simple phrase rooted in the resurrection promise: nothing is stronger than God’s love, you always have an invitation to begin again. I never imagined just how much I (and all of us) would need to “Begin Again” in the summer of 2021.

The past year of Covid Restrictions have taught us all about re-gathering, reimagining, re-centering… discovering where Jesus is present when two or three cannot be gathered in person, and yet we are gathered in Christ. We are all beginning again. We are all re-membering the Body of Christ as we move back into each other’s physical presence and continue to trust how we can also be connected from a distance. I recently read an article about what kind of mission focus will help us begin again, and what kinds of things will keep us stuck or even shut down. A key question the author wrestled with was the need to move people into the future of church and not be so anxiously focused on getting them all back to church. I am aware of our reflexive imagination that intones the phrase, “When we get back…”. But this is not really helpful. We actually never left… and we are not going back. Instead, perhaps we are called to INVITE people forward into the future. What if we emphasized that we are beginning again, like God always does with us? Perhaps, this September as our program year starts, we shout from the rooftops, “Welcome Forward!”

Mother Adrien Sabbatical at All Saints' Episcopal Church in Frederick, Maryland

I will be away for three months on Sabbatical, July-Sept, and I want us all to experience some benefits of sabbath time. The Rev. Bill Thompson-Uberuaga will join All Saints’ 1/2 time to assist with preaching, worship, pastoral care, and is going to offer his leadership as a “contemplative in residence.” My desire is that the community drink deeply of a spiritual practice that will help us stay rooted in God’s guidance as we beginning again. I believe contemplative prayer can continue to nourish us after the Sabbatical time as we root down in order to grow towards God’s light. I want Rev. Jess to lead All Saints’ in this time of ‘beginning again’ with all the wisdom and grace of her priesthood and her beautiful heart. I want the vestry to step forward with vision, mission, and values to point the way for our church to journey into the future. I want the staff to experience collaborative support as they nurture the communication, buildings,
website, social media, worship, and programs for our church family. I want all the leadership of the church to feel ownership and investment in the future the God is inviting us to embrace, “Welcome Forward!”

RELATED LINKS:

Mother Adrien’s Broken, Blessed, and Beloved blog

If you are interested in some of the specific classes I am taking and the trails I am hiking, here are the links.

Appalachian Trail

Arrowmont Art Class, TN Transitive Pattern

Prosopon Icon Class, Stafford, VA

Writing with my brother, Stuart in Hong Kong

Assateague Camping

Art and Healing with Mason, my sister

Center for Action and Contemplation: Conspire Event (not yet available for registration due to COVID)

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