I’m excited about Rev. Jennifer’s upcoming sabbatical. It is a sign of a congregation’s robust health to support their ministers’ sabbaticals with love and courage. You do that well: you supported Rev. Drew’s sabbatical back when there was only one minister serving First Church. You learned so much while everyone pitched in to help things go smoothly. Those who took leadership roles while Drew was away gained insight into all that ministers do behind the scenes. Things went well during Drew’s sabbatical.
You also did well during my sabbatical in 2017. You supported the staff members who covered pieces of my work and welcomed a part-time Assistant Sabbatical Minister, Rev. Sara Goodman, who covered many of my responsibilities while I was away. Things went well during my sabbatical.
I’m super-excited to work with Rev. Jim Foti, our newly hired part-time Assistant Sabbatical Minister who will be with us for the duration of Jennifer’s sabbatical, mid-February to mid-July 2023. I’ve gotten to know Jim a bit through the years we saw each other at “second minister” collegial gatherings. He is fun, friendly, approachable, and outgoing. He is thoughtful, kind, wise about social justice ministry and all the connections that keep a congregation together.
I love Jennifer and will miss her while she is away, but we’ve got this, First Church! We know how to inspire each other and care for each other with courage and joy no matter what comes our way. I look forward to what we will learn together while Jennifer is resting, reading, traveling, and recharging her batteries. It will be sad to send her off in February, but sweet to welcome her back in August and hear all the stories from her journeys—both literal and metaphorical.
Rev. Dena McPhetres, Associate Minister