“The LORD said to Moses on Mount Sinai, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the LORD. For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a sabbath of rest, a sabbath to the LORD.” (Leviticus 25:1-4)
In our 7th year, 2016, Restoration generously granted me a sabbatical. It was a profound change for our church and for me. I remain deeply grateful for the experience. I wrote a 4-part series heading into the sabbatical- describing what it is, what I would do, and why Restoration was motivated to provide it. You can read that series, here.
2022 is the 7th year of Rev. Nathan Dickerson’s employment at Restoration and our vestry has graciously granted him a sabbatical. It has been delightful to dream with Nathan about how he might use it and it has been deeply satisfying to watch our other staff step forward to take on the significant tasks that Nathan does each week. We have a gifted team and we work really well together. Nathan will be missed for these sabbatical months AND in true sabbatical grace, others will have a chance to try new things in his place. God is good.
I invited Nathan to send a message describing what he hopes his sabbatical will be. It follows below.
Would you join me in praying for Nathan, Stephanie, and their family as they enter this season of rest and rejuvenation?
I have been praying Psalm 62, ‘Find rest oh my soul in God alone; my hope comes from Him.’ and Hebrews 12, ‘Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.’ We desire to see restoration for Nathan’s soul, for his hands and knees which work so hard in prayer and service to be strengthened, for things which may feel ‘out of joint’ to be healed. We pray for deep laughter and joy to flow.
Thank you, Restoration, for the ways that you care for your clergy and staff.
Dear Restoration Family,
It was almost exactly 7 years ago that I sat down in the conference room at church to meet with the staff team and explore the possibility of moving to Virginia and joining Restoration as one of your pastors.
I distinctly remember that as I shared with the group about the challenges I had been experiencing with my previous congregation, Liz Gray (who was on staff at the time) smiled at me and said, “I really hope that Restoration becomes a place of ‘restoration’ for you.” What a prophetic statement! That is exactly what this congregation has meant to me and my family over the last several years. You are a church that inhabits its name as a community of restoration.
One of the great ways this church provides restoration to its clergy is by giving us a sabbatical every 7 years. I am so thankful for the opportunity to step away from my daily and weekly responsibilities of ministry and experience an extended period of rest and renewal.
My sabbatical begins in early April. I’ll step away from my work at Restoration until mid-July. In this time away, I am really looking forward to several things that will help to recharge my batteries – including family trips to the beach and mountains, a weekend away with Stephanie (a belated 20th Anniversary celebration), a silent retreat, a seminary class, reading lots of books, and spending time outdoors hiking and biking.
You all are so generous to provide me with this Sabbatical time away. Please pray for me and my family that God uses it as a time of deep rest, renewal, and reset.
Yours in Christ,