March 2019

Greetings Holy People of God,

In my annual report for 2017, I had hoped to devote time and energy into Sabbatical planning for 2018 and then other things came up that drew my attention away from planning a sabbatical. The preschool flooring project ended up with asbestos abatement, internship for Nicole, and my mother’s death all added together to put planning on the back burner. So, when I wrote my 2018 annual report, I rededicated my efforts. With all staff in place this year and with Intern Nicole able to share in pastoral duties, I would like to apply for the 2019 Lilly Endowment National Clergy Renewal Program. This just might be a practice run seeing the deadline for submitting applications is April 11, 2019 with the intention of the sabbatical taking place in the summer of 2020. But we seem to work well with deadlines.

For the application we, pastor and congregation will work together to design the renewal program. I will be working with Executive Committee and council to agree on 1) the length of the program, 2) the pastor’s activities during the program, 3) congregational renewal activities that will take place during the pastor’s absence, and 4) how the pastor and congregation will share their experiences and insights with one another when the renewal leave is completed. The congregation will submit the proposal to Christian Theological Seminary. Please go to http:// for more information on clergy renewal.

At the February council meeting we approved a Sabbatical policy which will also guide us in this process. The policy requires a written plan covering the following areas: 1) the purpose of the sabbatical, 2) the hoped-for outcomes, and 3) a description of how this will benefit both the ministry setting and the rostered leader.

One of my long-term goals in ministry is to visit the Holy Land but not just on a tour, but a lengthy stay with a home base. The Tantur Ecumenical Institute in association with the University of Notre Dame offers a one-month program in June or July that weaves together classroom instruction of the Bible, geography, history and spirituality along with guided tours. In addition, Tantur Programs seek to introduce participants to the people of this land, both in their history and in their contemporary existence. It would be an immersion experience into the Holy Land.

One of the most obvious hoped for outcomes of a Holy Land experience would be in preaching but also in the experience of living in a communal setting for a month might also bring some insight into our endeavors to be “present” in our community and to form relationships with our neighbors. I think time spent with people who live in Israel and Palestine may have some unique ideas and experiences that may have the potential to help us truly be a light shining on the corner of Melrose and Mormon Trek.

That’s a bit of my brainstorming. I invite you to do some brainstorming with me. Think about the conversations we have had over the past two years with the LEAD Team. Think about our neighborhood and the community of Christ the King and pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to blow through our midst. What do you think would need to happen to give us a sense of renewed energy or help us to sing a new song? What renewal activities could we engage in for us and for our community? I am thankful to be on the journey with you, my faithful brothers and sisters in Christ.

Believing It Boldly Loving Expansively,

Pastor Connie Spitzack