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Lamplighter - Fr. Aran

posted Feb 25, 2016, 12:33 PM by St. Thomas Church   [ updated Dec 2, 2019, 7:47 AM ]

Hello friends . . . grace and peace,

I am beyond grateful. The words “thank you” do not come close to expressing what I am feeling.  Being a part of this faith community, this family at St. Thomas, is truly a blessing.  Allow me to share why I believe this.

On January 1, 2020, I will have been on staff at St. Thomas for 22 years.  Yup, 1998 is when I was hired – that’s LAST CENTURY – and they have been 22 of the best years.  Shannon and I have raised our family alongside all y’all.  You have been with us in good times and dark times.  We are blessed to be a blessing.

Part of being a part of the pastoral staff at a church means long hours, skipped days off, and pressing hard into the needs of others.  And I love being able to do those things because, frankly, it’s necessary to sit with students as the recover from a suicide attempt, or support them as they watch their parents go through a divorce, or pray with them as they struggle with understanding who they truly are, or, or, or . . . the list goes on and on.

In it’s wisdom, The Church (of which The Episcopal Church, The Diocese of Fond du Lac, and St. Thomas are all a part) recognize that, every so often, pastoral staff such as clergy, pastors, etc need to recharge.  This is why sabbaticals are such a blessing.  They allow time for men and women to step out of ministry for a time, to pray, to recharge, to learn, and feed their soul.

In our diocese, once a clergy person or pastoral staff member has been with a congregation for at least 7 years, they begin to acquire 2 weeks of sabbatical annually, to be used every 3 – 7 years.  Since 2005, I have been taking a few weeks of sabbatical every 3 – 4 years.  The last sabbatical time I took was in 2015.

And so, in 2020, I will be taking some sabbatical time again.  I will be splitting it up into 3 chunks:

Weeks 1 & 2
January 1 – 14

Time with my family, as well as reading through the Book of Acts, focusing specifically on the conversion of Saul/Paul and his subsequent journeys.

Weeks 3, 4, & 5
July 19 – August 8

Recovery from mission trip, time with my family, as well as reading Paul’s letters to the cities of Thessalonica, Philippi, Ephesus, and Corinth.

Weeks 6 & 7
August 9 – 22

Pilgrimage to Greece and Turkey to walk The Footsteps of St. Paul followed by visitation to a clergy friend in Rome, Italy.

Weeks 8 & 9
August 23 – September 5

Recovery from Pilgrimage, time with my family.

Week 10
December 28 – January 3, 2021

Time with my family.

So again, thank you. I covet your prayers.

peace to you