A Time for Renewal

The Rev. Eric Long

With gratitude to the people of St. John’s, I start my sabbatical this summer. My last priestly act for a while is officiating a wedding for Tray Light and Chesley Fobare the first weekend of June. After that, I will help my step-father rebuild our back deck (pray for us!) and then welcome family and friends for my daughter Abigail’s graduation from high school.

On June 10, I fly to Dublin, where I join a pilgrimage in Ireland put together by my predecessor, The Very Reverend Barkley Thompson.

I will then make my way to Spain to walk the last 100km of The Camino de Santiago. Following that, I go to Scotland for a time to visit holy sites such as the island of Iona, where the earliest Christian missionaries came to the British Isles. After time with Shelley in Europe for a week and change, I will come home in order to take Abigail to The University of the South (Sewanee) for college.

Finally I’ve accepted an invitation to go to St. George’s College, Jerusalem, where I sit on the board. The gift of this unexpected trip is that my room in the dorms has two twin beds, so I’m taking my youngest daughter, Madalene, to see The Holy Land and hang out with me between my meetings with the college.

As you can tell, this will be a very full summer. The vast majority of it will be spent in pilgrimage, exploration of holy sites, and reconnection with our faith by visiting some of the birthplaces of Anglicanism as well as Christianity itself.

The last month, leading up to this sabbatical, was one of the busiest I’ve had at St. John’s. Many unexpected funerals and planned weddings met with my calendar that I had loaded up with preaching, teaching, and having every possible meeting that needed to be had. It really has been a meaningful month, with many moments of joy and purpose. It also has reminded me that it is time for this sabbatical.

The purpose of the sabbatical is for me to reconnect with God, my call, and replenish myself for ministry.

Thank you to my clergy colleagues, St. John’s staff, and to you, our church family, for allotting me time to attend to my soul for a season.

Pray for me as I pray for you.

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