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Sabbatical 2014  

Frequently Asked  Questions  

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This booklet  has  been  prepared  by  the  Sabbatical  Planning  Committee  for  the   members  of  Tabernacle  to  share  information  about  our  pastor’s  sabbatical   experience  for  the  summer  of  2014  and  the  corresponding  time  of   congregational  renewal.   Sabbatical  Planning  Committee   Tracy  Hartman   Art  Wright     Megan  Strollo   Bill  Welstead   Marty  Watkin   Molly  Huffstetler  

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What is  a  sabbatical?   The  word  sabbatical  has  its  roots  in  the  biblical  concept  of  Sabbath  (“to  rest”   or  “to  cease”).  Sabbath  keeping  is  setting  aside  time  that  God  consecrates  and   makes  holy.    Sabbatical  leave  is  a  time  for  our  pastor  to  shift  gears  in  order  to   rest,  disengage,  study,  reQlect,  play,  and  travel  in  order  to  return  to  minister   among  us  refreshed  and  renewed  in  body,  mind,  and  spirit.  (It  is  not  a  time  for   routine  work,  mid-­‐career  assessment,  job  searching,  retirement  planning,  or   terminal  leave.)  Sabbatical  is    more  than  a  vacation  from  meetings,  budgets,   sermons,  and  people  in  need.    It  is  a  time  for  Sterling  to  receive  spiritual   nourishment  and  a  change  in  perspective,  to  deepen  his  relationship  with  God   and  his  family.  It  is  a  season  of  both  rest  and  growth.  The  sabbatical  time  will   also  be  a  season  of  growth  and  rest  for  the  entire  congregation.  

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Do other  clergy  go  on  sabbatical?   Yes  A  growing  number  of  congregations  are  realizing  the  lasting  beneQits  of   providing  their  clergy  with  sabbatical  leave.    Ministers  return  refreshed  and   revitalized  and  the  church  often  moves  into  new  phases  of  ministry  following   a  sabbatical  leave.    Many  churches  now  have  regular  sabbatical  times  written   into  their  covenants/job  descriptions  with  their  ministers.  

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How long  will  Sterling  be  gone?   Sterling  will  leave  after  worship  on  Sunday  June  1,  2014  and  return  to  work   the  Qirst  week  of  September.  The  Severns’  Qirst  Sunday  back  in  worship  will  be   September  7th.      

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What will  Sterling  be  doing  on  his  sabbatical?   Sterling  has  planned  a  balanced  combination  of  travel  and  rest  for  his   sabbatical.    Utilizing  our  sabbatical  theme  of    “coming  home,”  Sterling  will:   A.  Come  home  to  the  roots  of  our  faith  with  a  trip  to  the  Holy  Land  (This   experience  will  enrich  his  preaching  and  teaching  when  he  returns.)   B.  Come  home  to  his  family  with  two  vacation  trips.   C.  Come  home  to  the  land  of  our  Burmese  rooted  families  with  a  trip  to   Burma.(This  trip  will  enrich  Sterling’s  understanding  of  the  history  


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and culture  of  our  ethnic  groups  from  Burma  and  and  better  equip  him   to  lead  upon  his  return.     D.  Come  home  to  rest.  Travel  will  be  interspersed  with  down  time  at   home  to  read,  rest,  and  observe  Sabbath.  

Who will  cover  Sterling’s  responsibilities  while  he  is  away?   The  church  voted  to  invite  Dan  Schumacher  to  cover  most  of  the  Sunday   morning  preaching  opportunities  and  Senior  Pastor  duties  while  Sterling  is   gone.    We  have  hired  Kristen  Koger  to  be  our  summer  Pastoral  Intern  and  Judy   Fiske  will  continue  to  serve  faithfully.  The  support  staff  will  continue  to   function  in  their  roles,  assisted  by  the  deacons  and  other  volunteers.  

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Who should  I  call  to  plan  a  special  service?   The  church  ofQice  will  be  open  during  its  usual  hours.    Betty  and  the  church   staff  are  available  to  help  you  arrange  for  weddings,  funerals,  and  other  special   services  over  the  summer.  

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Who do  I  call  if  I  have  a  family  or  personal  crisis?   As  always,  we  will  have  a  pastor  on  call  throughout  the  week.    This  person’s   name  and  contact  information  is  listed  in  the  bulletin  every  Sunday.  

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Who will  pay  for  the  sabbatical?    Tabernacle  received  a  very  generous  grant  from  the  Lilly  Endowment    that  is   fully  funding  Sterling’s  sabbatical  program  as  well  as  additional  staff  coverage   and  sabbatical  activities  for  the  church.    TBC  will  continue  to  pay  Sterling’s   salary  while  he  is  away.  

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What if  a  question/concern  arises  while  Sterling  is  away?   Church  staff  members  will  be  available  to  answer  questions,  just  as  they   always  are.    They  will  consult  the  deacons  for  advice  and  discernment  if  a   matter  of  particular  concern  arises.  

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What will  be  happening  at  church  during  the  Sabbatical   The  sabbatical  season  is  designed  to  be  a  time  of  renewal  for  Sterling  and  for   the  church.  A  portion  of  the  grant  has  been  designated  for  various   congregational  activities.    In  keeping  with  the  sabbatical  theme,  the   congregation  will:  

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Come Home  for  three  church-­‐wide  Fellowship  Opportunities:   June  8th     Church-­‐wide  picnic  –  good  food  and  fun  activities  for  all           ages   th   July  9       Ice  Cream  social  plus  age-­‐speciQic  book  discussions           (children,  youth,  adult)     Aug.  20th   Movie  night  –  The  Wizard  of  Oz:  popcorn  plus           conversation  about  “coming  home”             Come  Home  for  three  Creative  Arts  Opportunities:     after  worship  on  June  15th   after  worship  on  July  13th     after  worship  on  Aug.  3rd  

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Join us  as  local  artist  and  minister  Suzanne  Stovall  Vinson  leads  us  in  creating   unique  and  versatile  themed  stoles  and  banners  for  worship.    We  will  also   make  some  new  Chrismon  ornaments  for  our  Christmas  tree.  Get  to  know  new   and  longtime  church  members  during  these  inter-­‐generational  creative  arts   sessions  

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Come Home  by  attending  some  home  team  sports  events:   Baseball  with  The  Richmond  Flying  Squirrels     Soccer  with  the  Richmond  Kickers.    

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Come Home  by  reconnecting  with  family  members  that  we  have   commissioned  through  the  years.  Small  groups  of  church  members  will   arrange  homecoming  trips,  traveling  to  reconnect  with  and  worship  alongside   those  we  have  commissioned  over  the  years.    


Judy Fiske  will  coordinate  an  outing  in  New  York  with  Bryon  Lepere,   Eric  Hasha,  and  Amanda  Hambrick-­‐Ashcraft.    

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Dan Schumacher  will  coordinate  a  reunion  in  Charlotte,  NC,  with  Jason   and  Joanie  Williams  and  Molly  Huffstetler.  

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Megan Strollo  will  coordinate  a  reunion  with  Rene  Kenley  Purtlebaugh   and  Susan  Reed  in  Louisville,  Ky.  

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Jessica Corbitt  will  coordinate  a  reunion  with  Greg  and  Melanie  Harrell   in  Blacksburg,  Va.    

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A group  us  us  will  enjoy  a  reunion  with  some  of  our  former  members   living  in  the  Richmond  Metropolitan  area.    

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Lastly,  a  group  will  also  travel  to  Camp  Alkulana  to  offer  support  to   Beth,  Art,  and  Anna.    

Will Sterling  be  in  contact  with  TBC  during  the  sabbatical?   An  important  part  of  sabbatical  is  to  make  a  complete  break  from  things.    The   only  people  who  will  be  in  direct  contact  with  Sterling  while  he  is  away  will  be   his  family.    In  the  unlikely  event  that  some  extraordinary  news  must  be   communicated  to  Sterling,  Dan  Schumacher  will  notify  Laura  and/or  Sterling.  

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Will Sterling’s  family  go  with  him?   Sterling  will  travel  with  his  best  friend  from  college  and  seminary  to  the  Holy   Land  and  by  himself  to  Burma.  His  family  will  enjoy  the  remainder  of  the   sabbatical  time  with  him.  

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How will  we  send  Sterling  off?   On  May  31,  CBF  leader,  Bo  Prosser,  will  lead  a  brief  dinner  meeting  for  our   clergy  and  lay  leaders,  facilitating  the  conversation  of  entrusting   congregational  leadership  and  spiritual  guidance  into  the  hands  of  other  staff   and  deacons.    

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On June  1,  we  will  have  a  congregational  Send-­‐Off.    In  worship,  Bo  Prosser  will   preach.  We  will  creatively  interpret  the  sabbatical  theme  and  set  the  tone  for   the  season  ahead.  The  congregation  will  send  the  Severns  family  into  the   sabbatical  with  bread  for  the  journey.  

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How will  we  get  “reacquainted”  when  the  Severns  return?   On  Saturday,  September  6,  Bo  Prosser  from  CBF  will  lead  a  re-­‐entry  Retreat  for   deacons,  lay  leaders,  and  the  pastoral  staff.    

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September 7,  Bo  Prosser  will  lead  all  of  the  adults  during  the  Sunday  School   hour  and  preach  in  worship.  The  Severns  will  enter  the  sanctuary  with  bread   and  Sterling  will  lead  communion  as  we  break  bread  together  around  the   family  table  and  celebrate  coming  home  for  the  very  Qirst  time.  

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How can  I  help  make  the  sabbatical  successful  for  the  Severns  family  and   for  the  church?   First,  pray.    Pray  for  a  signiQicant  time  of  rest  and  renewal  for  each  member  of   the  Severns  family.  Pray  for  each  member  of  the  church  staff  that  will  lead  us   while  Sterling  is  away.    Pray  for  the  deacons  and  other  volunteers  who  will   plan  and  lead  sabbatical  activities.  Pray  that  this  season  is  one  of  renewal  for   each  member  of  the  congregation  and  our  church  as  a  whole.  

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Second, participate.    Join  in  the  fellowship  and  worship  opportunities  that  are   offered  this  summer.  Volunteer  to  help  support  the  staff  and  the  deacons  lead   key  events.  

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Finally, seek  to  be  present  in  the  moment  and  enjoy  this  unique  opportunity  in   the  life  of  our  church.  

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Sabbatical Schedule   May  28:   Sterling’s  last  day  in  ofQice
 May  30:   June  1  -­‐  DNOW  Youth  Retreat
 May  31:     Dinner  meeting  for  our  clergy  and  lay  leaders,  6-­‐8  p.m.
 June  1:   Severns  family’s  last  Sunday  with  us   June  2-­‐16:   Pray  for  Sterling  as  he  travels  to  Israel  


June 7:   Camp  Alkulana  work  day  and  reunion
 June  8:   Pentecost  Sunday/Graduate  Recognition  Sunday/       Church-­‐wide  Picnic  at  Mechanicsville  Baptist
 June  14:   Richmond  Kickers  game
 June  15:   Suzanne  Vinson  here  to  facilitate  stole,  banner,  and  Chrismon         ornament  projects.   June  21:   School’s  out  for  the  Summer  Beach  Day  for  the  youth,  pray  for  the         Severns  Family  as  they  travel  together  to  Florida  and  the           Caribbean  through  July  7.
 June  29:   Flying  Squirrels  game
 July  4:   Fireworks  at  Dogwood  Dell
 July  9:   Ice  Cream  Social  &  Book  Discussion/       UniDiversity  Youth  Camp  info  mtg.  (6:30-­‐8:30  PM)     July  13:   Suzanne  Vinson  here  to  facilitate  stole,  banner,  and  Chrismon         ornament  projects/UniDiversity  info  mtg
 July  14-­‐18:   Music  and  Arts  Camp  (children)   July  15-­‐31   Pray  for  Sterling  as  he  travels  to  Burma
 July  19:   Richmond  Kickers  game
 July  21-­‐26:   UniDiversity  Youth  Camp
 July  23-­‐27:   Vinton  Baptist  Church  Mission  Team  at  TBC
 July  27-­‐Aug.  2:  TBC  Team  to  lead  Metro  Baptist  Clue  Camp  (NY,  NY)   Aug.  2-­‐19:   Pray  for  the  Severns  Family  as  they  travel  to  Hawaii
 Aug.  3:   Suzanne  Vinson  here  to  facilitate  stole,  banner,  and  Chrismon         ornament  projects.
 Aug.  9:   Flying  Squirrels  game  (Qireworks)
 Aug.  10:   Vacation  Bible  School  Prep  Day
 Aug.  11-­‐15:   Vacation  Bible  School
 Aug.  16:   Tentative  trip  to  Turner  Smith’s  house  (Senior  High)
 Aug.  20:   The  Wizard  of  Oz  Movie  Night  and  Discussion   Sept.  2:   Sterling’s  Qirst  day  back  in  the  church  ofQice
 Sept.  6:   Local  re-­‐entry  Retreat  (Deacons,  lay  leaders,                 and  Pastoral  Staff),  10  a.m  -­‐  3  p.m.
 Sept.  7:   Sterling’s  Qirst  Sunday  back.  Reunion  dialogue  during  Sunday         School  and  special  communion  during  worship.  

Sabbatical Q&A: Summer 2014  

Sabbatical Summer for the Severns family, and for the church, is upon us! Please plan to be in worship on Sunday June 1st as we pray for the...

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