Sabbatical II

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

We wanted to write this week with more news and thoughts about the upcoming sabbatical and to answer some of the questions you all have asked. This is an exciting season for Trinity Church as we prepare for the sabbatical.

What is a sabbatical?
The word sabbatical has its roots in the biblical concept of Sabbath (“to rest” or “to cease”). The Sabbath is sacred time, during which God’s people rest from labor — for the sake of deepening our experience of God’s active presence in our lives. The Sabbath is time with God, without a lot of our usual distractions.

What will Paul’s sabbatical look like?  
For Paul and his family, the sabbatical will be a time of study, prayer, travel to holy sites, and important family time.  They will journey many places and we pray the physical journeys they take will be accompanied by a journey of the heart led by God’s whispers and nudgings.  It is a time for Paul to spend concentrating on aspects of his ministry, prayer life, and priestly vocation.  
What does our Trinity Church sabbatical look like?
For those of us who are staying here at Trinity, the sabbatical is also a time to “journey” with God; to discern about our lives together; our ministry as a community of faith, and to enjoy fellowship.  With our Way of St. Paul Team we envision several ways we will use sabbatical time:

  • We will begin our journey on May 8 with a 10 week class and discussion “What does it mean to BE Church?” 
  • Intergenerational Fellowship Events off-site—Trinity Church outside our walls.  More info about these to come!
  • “Go therefore, and…” an on-line photo and reflection journey for all ages. More info to follow! 

The sabbatical is an invitation for a period of deepening spirituality for the whole parish. Research shows that clergy and congregations are strengthened by clergy sabbaticals and we will look forward to gathering with Paul in September to share what we have learned and how we hope to move forward in faith together at Trinity.

How long is the sabbatical? 
We will celebrate on Sunday, April 24 after the 11 a.m. service with a bluegrass band, lunch, and fellowship with the Jeanes family.  Officially Paul leaves at the end of that week.  He will be back in the pulpit on Sunday, September 4.

We will begin our parish sabbatical journey “What does is it mean to BE Church?”on May 8 following the 11 a.m. service.
Who will cover clergy responsibilities during the sabbatical?
The Rev. Nancy J. Hagner, Associate Rector will function as head of staff with support of the vestry during the sabbatical.  The Rev. Joanne Epply-Schmidt will serve part time, as well as The Revs. Allan King, Louise Kingston, Sonia Waters, Dick Fenn, and Leslie Smith as their schedules permit.  We also have 2 PTS interns over the summer who will help with Christian Ed. Youth Curriculum development and our membership database project. More information soon on those folks and their summer projects.
What if I have further questions about the sabbatical?
Please direct your questions to The Rev. Nancy J. Hagner ( 609-924-2277, ext. 307 or to our wardens, Juliet Richardson, Senior Warden (, and Thalia Mingo, Junior Warden, (

We trust that this time of Sabbatical will be rich with discernment, prayer, learning, fellowship and fun for all of us. We invite you to join in, as the journey will not be the same without you. Our prayer is that all of us will be enlivened and renewed by the journeys we are on; the Jeanes family as they travel, and the Trinity family as we stay and pray and play; seeking to deepen our commitment to Christ, and our participation in God's mission in the world.

Peace and blessings,
Paul and Nancy