Pastor Rob’s Sabbatical

As was shared at our Annual Meeting, I will be taking a sabbatical this summer pursuing rest, rejuvenation, devotion, and study.

Why?  Please know it’s not because I feel “burned out” or anywhere near the end of my rope.  I very much love what I’m called to do at TPC, and am blessed by the extraordinary people I get to serve with!

Rather, it’s been quite a couple years.  Obviously, the pandemic has been a game-changer across the world, including the Church.  The griefs and pains it has caused cannot be overstated.

But at TPC, we’ve been blessed with significant growth and transformation.  During this time, TPC created a new virtual campus, expanded our spiritual formation programs in remarkable ways, created three new Mission Action Teams, added two new staff members and two Parish Associates, invested over $100,000 in hunger and pandemic-related mission outreach, invested over $80,000 in technological upgrades to our worship and website capabilities, invested heavily in building upgrades to improve ventilation, and more. I’m deeply grateful to serve such an engaged community of faith alongside such a wonderful team of staff and lay leaders.

This fall, however, I began to realize I had overinvested in various tasks along the way, spending too much time focusing on vocational matters, and too little on others.  This sabbatical is intended to provide time to rest and reinvest in priorities beyond the church, including physical, spiritual, emotional, and (most importantly) familial ones.

What’s more, all that we have endeavored together requires fresh energy and perspective as we continue discerning where God is leading us.  So I look forward to spending time digging into a growing list of resources that potentially speak to where the Spirit is leading TPC.  Of particular interest is the continued development of our multi-campus ministry, the call to increase the connection of virtual participants to the life and mission of the whole church, and deepening awareness of where the greater Church itself is being called after a world-changing pandemic.

Towson Presbyterian Church is well-situated for this sabbatical, with exceptional staff and strong lay leadership.  A “Sabbatical Plan” with outlined processes is already in place.  Joel will serve as both moderator of Session and Head-of-Staff.  While Joel will also have increased preaching responsibilities, Revs. Mary Gaut, Harry Cahill, and Mark Smiley will be preaching throughout the summer and offering emergency pastoral care.  Karen Williams will also be expanding her role amid her ministry of visitation for TPC.

To be sure, I’m grateful to the Personnel Committee, Session, and TPC’s staff for their support of this sabbatical.  And I thank you, TPC, for this grace, as well.

If you have any questions or concerns, please know I’m happy to speak with you.