Nearly two weeks ago, I quietly observed a milestone in my ministry here at Christ the King: Wednesday, January 15th was the sixth anniversary of my arrival as lead pastor at CtK! There has been so much worth celebrating in our six years together, as well as many things that have raised questions, caused concern, or elicited responses of sadness, confusion, and disappointment. That is the beauty of being in ministry together, that we get to experience both the highs and the lows together, within a faith community created and sustained by God’s grace.
As I now enter my seventh year of ministry as your pastor, I am grateful to Christ the King for the opportunity for a three-month sabbatical, which was generously included in my Letter of Call. Coming from the same root word as “sabbath,” a sabbatical offers pastors (and others) the opportunity to step away from the daily obligations of parish life and to engage in a period of intentional exploration and reflection, with a goal of renewing the enthusiasm, vision, and creativity needed to sustain ministry into the future. The dates and overall scope of my proposal were approved by the Executive Committee and Council last spring, and were shared with the CtK community last summer in the Herald.
I will begin my sabbatical on Wednesday, February 26, and will return to CtK on Tuesday, May 26.
My sabbatical program, as it has been further refined, includes the following:
- An initial period of detaching from the patterns of everyday life and ministry (including a social media detox);
- A reading list focused on the challenges and opportunities of ministry in a secular age;
- Research visits and conversations with congregations and leaders of faith-based institutions which which identify as multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, or multi-lingual or which are involved in innovative forms of outreach to and/or ministry with emerging generations.
- A balance of time at home and traveling, including trips to Florida; New York City; Paris and Taizé, France; and the Texas/Mexico border.
CtK has budgeted for pastoral coverage during my absence. In addition to the ministry provided by the awesome CtK pastoral, program and administrative staff, we will have an additional full-time pastor joining the ministry team during this time. This pastor will be sharing preaching and worship leadership duties with Pr John, supervising the work of Intern Pepe Demarest and Mission Developer Ana Becerra, and providing pastoral care and some faith formation opportunities in collaboration with others on staff.
Look for an announcement with more details about this interim pastor later this week.
Once again, I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity, and for the care and generosity this congregation is providing me in making this sabbatical available. I invite your continued prayers for me, for others on staff, for the interim pastor, and for Christ the King as a whole as we enter this time of new, and somewhat unknown possibilities. I promise to hold you all in prayer during this time apart, asking God to bless the current ministries of CtK and to provide insight and discernment for our future ministry as well.
Grace and Peace,
Pastor Peter Hanson