All In Good Time

Mary Anona Stoops, Pastor for Senior FormationAs I prepare to cross the threshold into a time of sabbatical from May 16- July 3, I want to thank you for extending to me and my family this generous gift of time away.  About ten months ago my husband was granted a sabbatical for the summer of 2021 and I wondered if we might share some of this time together.  The pieces of fallen into place in such away that he and I will have time when our sabbaticals overlap allowing us to explore Washington state together for almost four weeks. We will also each have some sabbatical time when the other continues to work, affording us space for individual reflection, reading and writing.  This is the first time in 29 years of ministry that either of us has taken a sabbatical and we both feel a bit giddy.

Along with exploring Washington (and cleaning the garage and coffee on the porch) the time away will have two intentional areas of focus for me.  Starting in February I began working virtually with a somatic coach.  I learned about this form of coaching through Amanda Blake’s book Your Body Is Your Brain:  Leveraging Your Somatic Intelligence.  The particular coach I am working with lives in the Seattle area and our process will culminate with a series of in person sessions when I am in the area in June.  That the Holy became flesh is central to our common life at NDPC.  Through this experience I hope to increasingly integrate the body into our practice and expression of faith and worship.

Also during while away I will be rereading Richard Rohr’s latest book titled The Universal Christ.  One of the potentials of generative aging is for our faith to become ever more universalized.  We begin to see beyond our personal stories and dwell ever more deeply in the the Story that permeates all of reality.  For Rohr, this unitive, sacred and animating reality is called the Christ.  Rohr has published a companion book offering readers spiritual practices and prompts to go along with the good.  I look forward to this slow digestion of it, taking time for the prayer, journaling, and scripture reading that the companion guide wraps around the text.  I hope be better equipped to teach the material and nurture myself and others toward becoming elders who increasingly live, move and have our being in this great pouring out of love that permeates all of reality.

As I take leave I also want to thank the full staff, the Visitation Ministry Team, and Congregational Care Elder Mark Cochran for their support of this time away.  In my absence the VMT will continue to make calls and visits and Mark will coordinate meals and cards when needed, keeping the ties that bind us strong.  David and Beth are available for pastoral needs through the rest of this month and David will continue to be available throughout June.  I will not be answering email May 16-July 3.

I hope that each one of us is granted a some form of sabbatical in the summer season.  Whether it comes in the form of actual time away or more subtly in laying aside for a moment a of well worn routine that we may come to know ourselves and the God that loves us a tad more deeply.  May God bless us and keep us while we are apart from one another.

Peace and Health,

Mary Anona
Pastor for Adult Formation

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