Diane Melvin (Big)DRE Sabbatical

I am very grateful that the board of directors has approved my request for a six month sabbatical to begin in January of 2017.  While it is common for ministers to take a sabbatical leave, it is also considered best practice by the UUA for DREs and other religious professionals to earn sabbatical time due to the unique nature of the work.

Many of you have asked me what I plan to do during this time so I want to share my thoughts. While I have not yet decided upon a definitive plan, here are some of my ideas:

  • Create a Mindfulness Class for Families
  • Research and develop the structure for a sustainable small group ministry program
  • Revise and strengthen our Coming of Age
    curriculum
  • Read through the Tapestry of Faith curriculum
    lessons in more depth
  • Sort and organize my computer files (including
    hundreds of RE pictures)

While I look forward to having time to do some of these projects, what I really need more than anything right now is time for deep rest and spiritual renewal. I am burned out and exhausted.

While there are many factors that have contributed to this, some of it is from raising a child by myself for 18+ years while working full time and teaching additional classes in order to make ends meet.

During the interim minister transition period,  I tried to hold many pieces of our church system together above and beyond the RE program including a significantly increased pastoral care load.  I’ve poured my heart and soul into this congregation over the past 14 years.  Consequently, I am currently feeling over extended and depleted.

As I’ve entered midlife, I find that my brain is fuzzy and my energy level is the lowest it has ever been.  I’m struggling with frequent migraines among other health challenges.  I am hopeful a period of deep rest away from the stresses of managing a large program will provide some respite.  I’m optimistic that this break will allow me to return with improved cognitive clarity and functioning as well as renewed energy and passion.

I hope to make time to deepen and expand my spiritual practices, such as daily meditation and mindfulness practices, yoga and nature hikes. I’d also like to increase the time I spend at the gym, quit stress eating and lose 30 lbs.  I’m contemplating doing a bit of traveling as well.

I’d like to apply Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” method of sorting and organizing everything I own and discarding that which does not spark joy.  Though more than anything, I am deeply craving time for silence, solitude, stillness and spiritual renewal.

One of my challenges will be to prioritize all these lofty plans and figure out how to best spend this precious gift of time so I return rejuvenated.

I am forming a Sabbatical Team to assure smooth coverage in the religious education program during my absence.  I hope many of you will pitch in to help cover the many facets of this work to help your religious education program continue to thrive while I take this much needed time away.

It has been a privilege to serve this congregation for the past 14 years and I am extremely grateful for the gift of time to devote to some of these projects, rest and renewal.

Blessed Be, Diane Melvin, Religious Education Director

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RE Volunteer Appreciation Party

Sunday, April 24th after church

Please come and help us thank the religious education volunteers for their work with our children and youth this year.  Enjoy a Baked Potato Bar lunch, slide show and recognition ceremony.

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All Church Social Justice Work Project at Tiller’s International, May 14

Save the Date and help us paint a barn!

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Keepers of the Earth

Our Kindergarten through 6th grade religious education classes have wrapped up their Tapestry of Faith lessons for this year and are now enjoying Keepers of the Earth curriculum.  The lessons will focus on earth, air, fire, water and balance.  The kids will spend time outside each week exploring in the fields and woods so please be sure they are dressed accordingly.

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Westnedge Hill Garage Sale – May 7

Our youth will be selling items at River’s house   during the Westnedge Hill Garage Sale.  If you have items you would be willing to donate, please bring them to church the first week of May to the lower level coat area clearly labeled for this sale. Thank you!

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