Katie’s Bay View – Summer as Sabbatical

I just finished reading the wonderful article in the UUWORLD about the historic ordination of Olympia Brown to the Universalist ministry in 1863. Not only is this anniversary an opportunity to learn of the obstacles she overcame to become the first woman ordained by a recognized body, but it is a reminder to us now, after ordaining our director of family ministry, Darcy Baxter, how we stand in an historic line, holding tradition while making needed metamorphosis in the way we understand religion and justice. We’ve done much shared ministry in this year alone.

It has been only just over a year since I returned to the church from my four month sabbatical, but in the full immersion of the last six months, I am beginning to feel how quickly that learning and pace has been left behind with daily congregational demands. My realization is that for all of us, summer can be a time to pull back from regular church meetings and classes and focus on rest, enrichment, and some form of Sabbath. It is a chance to reflect on the meanings and understanding of the past year, to consider what we might want to do the next year, and take time to delve more deeply into some sort of practice for the summer.

I am aware that as a parish minister I am fortunate to have four full weeks of vacation that allow for me to catch up with household organization, summer reading, and family visiting, but even for those who don’t get a vacation (my husband is one of them), there is a way that our summer schedule can allow for a different kind of enrichment.

I invite you to read a book of a different genre than your typical choice, or to read the UUWORLD magazine all the way through, or pick up that instrument you delight in that you haven’t had time for playing. I look forward to hearing of your family trips, your special vacations, your most recently adopted spiritual practices.

I invite you to consider this summer as a sort of sabbatical, with opportunities for reflection, renewal, re-invigoration. May your attendance at church take the attitude of enjoyment, fellowship and discovery. May your time away also be so described.

With love,


P.S. Roy King, Jr. and Rev. Darcy Baxter will both return in mid-August. I’ll be on vacation from July 15-August 13th. Emergency ministerial coverage will be provided. Please contact Karen Cook if you have a pastoral emergency.