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The Pilgrimage Begins

Dear Members & Friends of West Raleigh,

This is really happening! After two years of imagining and planning, three years of staff transitions and Covid restrictions, we are ready for a sabbatical. Last weekend, West Raleigh jumped into the sabbatical season with Mike Wiley’s performance of The Fire of Freedom, a story that David Cecelski then unpacked on Sunday morning. Kat welcomed you into worship with an invitational sermon, and Jen and the choir welcomed Kat with an anthem that hit just the right note (Kat loves the British sitcom, The Vicar of Dibley, and Sunday’s anthem is the show’s theme song!). In the meantime, the Rick-Miller’s have been getting ready for our six-week adventure that begins when we leave for South Africa this Sunday afternoon (6/11)!

Before I go, I wanted to leave you one last important note: Kat starting at West Raleigh as I go on sabbatical is great and challenging. Great because Kat can step into the role of pastor with ease. Challenging because, in some ways, we are asking Kat to work beyond the Pastor for Community Formation position description this summer. I have asked Kat to prioritize pilgrimages and relationship building. I have asked her set aside time to work with Christian Formation, the More Light Task Force, the Dismantling Racism Task Force, Deacons (which she will continue to lead in the Fall) and Session. In addition, Kat will coordinate and lead weekly worship and provide pastoral care. Kat is excited to get to know us, and we need to be sure our expectations are reasonable. If you need Kat at a particular meeting, please be clear about your request. If Kat is not at a meeting, trust she is balancing a more-than-one-pastor workload with healthy practices that ensure she will be at West Raleigh a long time. Lean into grace and know that we will reset expectations in the Fall.

So now it’s time! Friends, may this summer be a time that we release in order to embrace and rest in order to repair and explore in order to be reshaped. Time step into Sabbatical Spirit, pilgrimage, renewal and JOY – trusting the One who creates us, holds us and sticks with us, this day and every day.

May the Spirit lead the way,


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