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“What are you doing for your sabbatical?” people are asking.  Well, the simple answer is that after two years of managing the church through the pandemic and my family through our changes, I mostly just need a break.

A few years ago, when the Pastoral Relations Committee and I first began discussing this sabbatical, we agreed upon a theme of exploring climate change in my reading and travels and hopefully some continuing education.  The delays in taking the sabbatical mean that this theme isn’t quite as dominant as it once might have been, but there’s still a significant thread of this idea, particularly in the books I’ll be reading.

Delaying from the original year, not fully knowing what Covid conditions would be, and uncertainty about my divorce and custody affected what could be planned ahead of time.  For example, there still aren’t as many events and conferences to attend as their once were.

A major component of the summer will be domestic travel.  Sebastian and I will spend some time with family and friends and will take a big trip to Yellowstone, a first for both of us.  I’ll take a separate trip to Glacier National Park with Katie Miller and will canoe and camp in the Boundary Waters with a friend.

I plan to do some writing, though I don’t have a particular project like I did last time with my memoir.  There are some small home projects that I’ll devote time and attention too.  I’ll also get plenty of exercise, rest, and reading.  Back in March I ordered a stack of books.  I’ve actually already completed one, before the sabbatical even began, but that I had intentionally chosen to start with—On Consolation: Finding Solace in Dark Times by Michael Ignatieff.

I plan to write about the sabbatical on my personal blog, so, if you want, you can follow along there.  I’ve already posted about that first book.

Six years ago, Katie Miller started her ministry with us just as I was headed out on sabbatical, and we had to do a lot of planning for how to cover my absence.  Not so this time.  We are well-staffed, Katie is experienced, and after Covid, all of us have learned how to cover more for one another in performing vital functions.  Katie Miller will be taking the lead in designing worship and preaching and covering many of the Senior Minister tasks. If there’s something you’d normally bring to me, please reach out to her or Jim.

And don’t worry, you’ll still see Sebastian.  He won’t be taking the whole summer off of church.  Claire Bouma will be bringing him to church on Sunday mornings.

Enjoy your summers, and I’ll catch up with in the fall.


421 South 36th Street, Omaha Nebraska, 68131
(Located at the corner of 36th and Harney Streets)






First Central Congregational Church