Sabbatical: A Time of Rest

“Better late than never,” or so the saying goes.  We are delighted to share with you that Beth and I have, as of February 10, begun a sabbatical that will last through most of the summer.  “What is a sabbatical? What will you be doing? Who will run IV at CNU? Why are we just finding out about this?,” you may be asking.  Well…

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A picture of us, exhausted but joyful at the end of Chapter Retreat in January.

Sabbatical—coming from the same Hebrew word from where we get “Sabbath,” meaning “to cease,” a sabbatical is a more ‘big picture’ version of the weekly Sabbath, or even the annual vacation.  Many churches/ministries (and universities and other institutions as well) allow employees to take a longer “break” of a few weeks to maybe even a whole year after having served a number of years.  (Beth and I are in the middle of year 9!) Though the “breaks” are often focused towards projects like further education or writing.

The “what” of our sabbatical is multi-faceted:

  • Rest–as the pace of life has been pretty full-steam-ahead for us for the past many years, we hope for an extended season that is both productive, but slower and less full, that we might be prepared for another long season of ministry with InterVarsity.
  • Travel–we hope to spend some time visiting friends and family in neighboring states that we often do not have the time to do.  To help us withdraw from campus involvement, both of us will be taking an extended hiatus from social media (Facebook and Twitter).
  • Study–Eric will be spending a good portion of the sabbatical taking seminary classes as he works towards his Masters of Divinity from RTS Washington D.C.
    • He will also be spending some time studying “worship music” as he prepares for a more significant and long-term role in the Worship Leaders Track at Rockbridge starting in May 2015.
    • (Additionally, Eric has recently starting doing “DJ & Sound” on the side so we hope to get that endeavor more established during this season–so if you know anyone looking for a DJ or a sound engineer for an event, look no further!)
  • Spiritual Development–Both of us will use this time to focus on our personal devotional lives in prayer and Scripture study, as well as do some personal reading in other areas of interest.  Beth will be meeting regularly a spiritual director who is on staff with InterVarsity.

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InterVarsity at CNU will be well taken care of while Beth and I step back for the rest of the semester.  InterVarsity’s model of ministry puts “student leadership” as one of our highest values.  Beth and I have never “run” the chapter, rather, we help the student leaders run it more effectively and efficiently than they would without our help.  With that in mind, we have been preparing them over the past many months for this unique season. On top of that, our direct supervisor, Shane Arthur, will be connecting with a few of the student leaders by phone and face-to-face numerous times throughout the semester to help out with any needs.

We do wish we could have told everyone about this sooner.  Unfortunately, while we have been planning/preparing for this sabbatical for over a year, we did not receive final approval for it until last month, which was full of preparations for our annual Chapter Retreat, as well as trying to tie up all the last-minute loose ends with our students before we got to the sabbatical.  As I joked with Beth at the dinner table last night, “We had to get TO the sabbatical to even have the ability to TELL everyone about it!”

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Lastly, while generally a sabbatical would involve a ‘clean break’ from all things InterVarsity, including connecting with our Ministry Partners (like you!), we are actually looking forward to having the time to do just that!  This past semester has been one of the most difficult to date and we were for many reasons prevented from connecting with many of you that we would have liked to have seen in the Fall.  Feel free to e-mail or call if we don’t contact you first!

We covet your prayers and your continued financial support during this time.  It’s strange to be so excited to take a long break from a job that we love, but we know that this sabbatical serves to see us better equipped to serve college students for many years to come!

(Pictures above taken by our student, Kayla Vande Vrede)

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