Hi, Live Oak. I proposed to the Live Oak Board that we delay my sabbatical and at Sunday’s meeting, they accepted my proposal. We’ll be playing it by ear. If we’re back in the church building by the end of May, I may take a shortened sabbatical. If it’s going to take longer for things to get back to normal, we’ll try for April 2021, and I’ll just take some normal vacation and study leave time in July and August, before Kiya Heartwood leaves us to begin her new job as a chaplain resident at Seton in September.
Since Kiya will not be taking up the mantle of “sabbatical minister,” at least not immediately, the Board voted to designate her as Assistant Minister during the rest of her time with us. As we have had to completely reinvent church for this pandemic epoch, and the pastoral and worship needs have climbed, I am so terrifically grateful we have her.
We need all the ministers we can get, which includes the ministry members give to each other. This week, my colleague, the Rev. Susan Smith, wrote:
When I was 8 (almost 9), we lived in a nice subdivision in Meridian MS that had a private beach on a small lake. This was one of the very few times in my life when my mother did not work. Every day, all the kids and moms met up on the beach to wile away that summer. In the mid-60s, the mothers were not swimming. They were coiffed and fully-dressed. The casual observer would think that they were chatting and maybe even ignoring us as we swam. We had spats, scrapes, near-misses, adventures, heart breaks, justice and injustice knitted together as we bobbed in the lake and jumped from the little dock. On the shore, whatever they seemed to be doing, they were actually counting heads. Over and over again just checking to see that we were there. Not regulating our interactions or managing our experiences, just counting our heads over and over and over again. Only once, did the head count come out wrong and instantaneously like a precision swim team they leapt up and coiffures and white pedal pushers be damned dove into that water to find and restore the lost little head. In these hard, hard times, that is what ministry is like.
If you’re a member of Live Oak, by now you should have received an email letting you know which “Geo Group” you’re in. All members have been grouped with others who live in their geographic area, for check-ins, and anything else your group would like to do. (If you’re a member and you have not received that email, please let me know.) Enrich Connections has taken on a Defcon 1 importance, and we want to make sure that all the members of our community are connected, hopefully in multiple ways, e.g. Geo Group + other Live Oak groups or teams you’re a part of.
We want you to know about the opportunities to connect with other Live Oakers, and so we’ve set up a page that gets updated around the clock with any new Live Oak gatherings. I recommend checking it every morning, to see if there are events you’d like to attend. Additionally, there’s a link at the bottom to my blog, where I’m publishing a brand new post every weekday. https://www.liveoakuu.org/whats-happening-this-week/
Right now, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere other than this intentional village I get to honor of serving with, and to. It was 6 years ago this week that I received the phone call from Live Oak’s search team, inviting me to be their candidate. I celebrate that every year!