Greetings in Christ Jesus:
We are about to start a new Conference year, so to speak. Some of our clergy are retiring from active itinerant ministry. They have served wonderfully in local churches and in settings that extend the ministry of the local church in institutions and communities. Other clergy still under appointment are moving to new appointments. Still others are starting their first appointment. Please hold all these folks, their families and their new ministry settings in your thoughts and prayers in this season of transition.
While summer can mark the time for a new start for many, for others who may be continuing in the same ministry setting, it can mark a change of pace. The pace may be faster or slower depending on the person and the rhythm of the ministry context.
In July and August, I will be taking a Renewal Leave. Paragraph 410.2 of the United Methodist Book of Discipline states the following:
Renewal Leave-Every bishop in the active relationship shall take up to three months’ leave from his or her normal episcopal responsibilities for purposes of reflection, study, and self-renewal during each quadrennium. The College of Bishops, in consultation with the appropriate jurisdictional or central conference committee on episcopacy, shall coordinate details pertaining to such leaves.
I am looking forward to this time of reflection, study, and self-renewal. I plan to have some time completely unplanned and uncharted. I am looking forward to time for Cynthia and me together and with family members. There will be time devoted to prayer, reading and writing. By God’s grace, I will spend two weeks in Costa Rica in language school trying to learn Spanish.
I work with a wonderful team of people that includes the cabinet and staff of our Annual Conference. There are protocols and people to cover that which needs to be covered, including three of my episcopal colleagues who have agreed to be on call as needed for consultation.
I am grateful that our church provides such an opportunity. Because of my wiring and habits (sometimes I don’t know the proportionality), I am more grateful that the above paragraph includes a shall. I need that kind of push and accountability. It is harder for some than for others to place a high enough value on sabbath, pausing in doing in order to tend to being. I do look forward to being back actively among you after Labor Day in relentless pursuit of the mission.
Until then I am,
Your servant in Christ Jesus,
+Bishop Gregory V. Palmer