Dear Members & Friends of West Raleigh,
After returning from a three-month sabbatical, that was full to overflowing with international exploration and adventure, amazing food and the most precious time with family, culminating in a month at home to read, work in the yard, cook, get all three girls back to school and reflect on our summer, I am full of gratitude. In a world (and a life) where there seems never to be enough time, this time was a gift, that my family and I received in full measure. Even though Sabbath was built into creation, it has not been built into the American working life, which makes me even more grateful to West Raleigh for including this in pastoral Terms of Call and for making it a priority as we approach the seventh year of ministry together!
It was over two years ago that Rev. Lori Pistor encouraged me to apply for a Clergy Renewal Grant from the Lilly Foundation, and we pulled together a team to work on the application. Alec Peters, Sarah McCracken Cobb, Eva Jones, Bob Dry and LaMae Fields helped envision the congregational pilgrimage, while Drew and I researched and mapped-out an international route of places I had wanted to visit for years. Once we received the grant, Terry Apter joined the team, bringing her considerable organizational skill to plan two pilgrimages. I am so grateful for their collective vision and tangible help, and for the session’s and congregation’s support of the entire project. The final piece fell into place last spring when Kat Kussmaul accepted the call to be West Raleigh’s Pastor for Community Formation. When she joined West Raleigh’s staff, we had just the right team, at just the right time. I am so grateful to Anna Richardson Raab the communication and administrative magic-maker through whom church-life flows and to Jen Wolfe whose gift for music brings our worship to life. Thank you all so much for everything you did to make this summer possible for us all!
This coming Sunday, September 17th, Drew, Ruth, Margaret, Emma Kate and I are looking forward to sharing stories and pictures from our summer with you at an all-church lunch after worship. I will also be sharing some reflections in worship. There are three parts to any good pilgrimage – the planning, the pilgrimage itself and them remembering and telling the story! As we move into this last leg of our journey – reJOYning!
See you in church,
Note: For a variety of reasons, we will not be streaming or recording the Rick-Miller’s presentation; however, the slideshow will be linked in next week’s E-news, and they will continue to share stories and reflections in a variety of ways.