Hi Friends,

As I shared with you in our annual meeting, I will be going on sabbatical May 27th -August 26th. I’m writing this letter to share important details with you about my sabbatical.

A sabbatical is not a new idea. The tradition of sabbatical can be traced back to the Old Testament, (Exodus 23:10-11) which mandates that during the seventh year of an agricultural cycle, “The land, let it rest and lie fallow”…In other words, the land is rested, and thereby restored. 

The analogy can be seen this way: God planted God’s Word in my heart to proclaim to our congregation and to all whom I meet. After seven years of ministry here at ELC, it is time for me to rest. This period of restoration will result in my renewed energy and will strengthen me in body and mind, therefore, helping ELC and me.

During my sabbatical, I will do mission and learning activities, and take some much-needed rest. These activities include: a mission trip to serve an under-resourced dental clinic, attending the National Youth Gathering with our ELC youth, and meetings and in-depth discussions with local pastors and community leaders to explore how we can continue to address the issues that divide us and promote healing. When I return, I will give reports to Council and the congregation about what I have learned and how we can apply it in the life and mission of ELC.

Over the next four months, I will be meeting with Pastor Christina and Council leadership to put all the details in place for my sabbatical. We also will be meeting with each of the teams as part of this planning process. You will be in good hands with Pastor Christina! I know that you will continue to work with her and support her, the Council and all of our teams while I am away.

I will share updates on my sabbatical with you during this planning process. Please come talk to me if you have any questions about my sabbatical.


Grace and Peace, 

Pastor Joe