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A Message from Leanne

Dear friends,

With deep gratitude, I am preparing for a three-month sabbatical beginning May 11. My focus in my time away will be on relationships, rest, and renewal.

Recent years have been an intense season of ministry, including Shades Valley’s financial discernment process, responding as a church to the COVID-19 pandemic, and navigating the sale of the Shades Valley property and our merger with Southminster. As we approach the first anniversary of our merger, I look forward to the chance for time away so that I can return to the next season of ministry with a fresh perspective and renewed energy. This sabbatical also comes at an opportune time for me and my family. Our son Thomas will graduate from high school in May and move to college in August. The sabbatical will allow me to spend more time with my family during this summer of celebration and transition.

How will I spend my sabbatical? At the end of May, our family will travel to Scotland for two weeks. We’ll spend the first few days sightseeing in Edinburgh and surrounding areas. Then we’ll spend six days walking the West Highland Way. Over this 96-mile route that extends from just outside Glasgow to Fort William, trekkers get to experience some of the most beautiful and varied landscapes of the Highlands, including lake, mountain and moor. We look forward to this slow time together as a family over long days of walking and exploring. After Mark and the boys head home, I’ll spend one more week in Scotland on retreat at the Iona Abbey. The 12th century Abbey on the tiny island of Iona, off the western coast of Scotland, has been described as the birthplace of Christianity in Scotland. St. Columba and 12 companions first came to Iona from Ireland in the year 563 CE and Iona has been a place of pilgrimage since the 7th century. I look forward to joining in worship twice a day with the Iona Community and sharing in the community life. The rest of my sabbatical will include time at home and in visits with family and friends. Mid-sabbatical, I will step back into church life for a week as I join our youth in Montreat.

Thank you so much for supporting my ministry by providing for this sabbatical. I look forward to sharing with you about my experiences on sabbatical when I return this fall, and to beginning the next season of ministry together.

Grace and peace, Leanne


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