Dear People’s people,

On February 15, I will be beginning a five month sabbatical. I am exhausted and eager to step away from ministry for a time. A year ago, I shared with you some plans for the sabbatical – such as taking a few classes or doing some family history research. The pandemic has put even those modest ambitions on hold. I will be spending most of my sabbatical supporting my elder child in remote-learning kindergarten, caring for my younger child, and spending time with my husband, who is working very reduced hours at the restaurant that employs him. I hope that this might still feel like a respite, at least some of the time.

How can you support me during my sabbatical? Give me space. I will be turning off my work cell number and not checking my work email for the duration of the sabbatical. I will limit my connection to People’s people on social media. When we run into each other out and about (which I hope is a real possibility in a few months!), let’s talk about things other than church.

I’ve been working hard in recent months to make sure that things will run smoothly in my absence. We have a lineup of great guest preachers and People’s people leading services. We have a stellar sabbatical pastoral care team in place, working in partnership with sabbatical pastoral care minister Barrett Lee. You can call them at 269-375-3262 ext. 11 (this is a voicemail account at the church) or Diane Melvin will be acting as the church’s lead administrative officer in my absence, so please be in touch with her if issues arise that she can help you address.

I am tremendously grateful to all of the People’s people who are doing more over the next months so I can do less. I look forward to coming back to church this summer with more energy, enthusiasm, and ideas for our next phase together.

With gratitude,
Rev. Rachel

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