So I’m taking a sabbatical…


Rector’s Sabbatical:  March 1-September 1, 2016

On Sunday, I got my first opportunity to publicly talk about my sabbatical.  If you attended our parish meetings in 2015, you heard that it was being planned.  Most of you knew that this was in the works.  Yet, it was fun for me to share the history of this endeavor and the way it came to be.

Restoration launched in January 2009.  Early in our story, the vestry made provision for a sabbatical for clergy.  In the very first edition of our employee handbook, it was written that every 7 years, the rector would receive a 6 month sabbatical.   2016 seemed so far in the distance back then.  

Yet, we have known for a long time that this point would come and that a rector sabbatical would be a possibility in 2016.  So, the vestry put aside a bit of money each year to help cover the costs of guest preachers and other program opportunities.  In February 2015, the vestry created a sabbatical team which came alongside Laurel and I for the purpose of planning what would be needed by Restoration and what would be needed by my family during the sabbatical.  This team was lead by Chris Belen and included vestry member Christine Jones, Jon Terry, Devin Hagerty, Ray Blunt, and Allison Gaskins.  They have asked great questions and crafted creative solutions.  After 10 months of work, the team presented a 5 page sabbatical proposal to our vestry that was unanimously approved in November.

Over the next month, I will use my weekly blog post to answer a few questions about the sabbatical.  Including,

  • ‘What is the biblical instruction regarding sabbatical rest?’ 
  • ‘What will I ‘do’ during the sabbatical?’ 
  • ‘What about the rest of the Hankes?’ and ‘What do we do if we see David around Arlington?’ 
  • ‘How will David’s various responsibilities at Restoration be covered while he is away?’ 

I will tag each of these posts with ‘Sabbatical2016’ so that you can find them quickly if you have questions.

This is the quote from my friend, Andy Crouch that has guided the sabbatical team and the leadership of Restoration as we have prayed and planned for 2016.

“The sabbatical is both a discipline toward power and a discipline that tames power.  Sabbaticals force us to relinquish our sense of indispensability.  So they subvert the god playing that can afflict custodians and CEOs alike.  The truth is that others are fully able to fill the roles we set aside.  This humbling reality can help us return to work with a more sober sense of our own importance and abilities, as well as providing organizations with a deep “bench’ of people who have grown in their capacities during one another’s absence.” 

from Playing God 

The sabbatical is a gift.  And an investment.  It is a wonderful opportunity for new things to spring up, blossom, and flourish at Restoration during my absence.  And it is a humble opportunity for me to rest, renew, and recharge for the ministry season to come.

This is very good.  I am proud of Restoration for doing it.