by Cass DuCharme

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 7/24/14

Did that title get your attention? I’m saying farewell to Highland Hills…but only for a short time. A few years ago, our church adopted a sabbatical policy for staff ministers, which creates an intentional season of rest and renewal every seven years. This year the deacons approved a sabbatical for me. Beginning last Monday, July 21, until August 31, I will be resting and renewing my body, mind, and spirit.
The theme for my sabbatical is “singing a new song.” Throughout my time away, I will set a new tempo in my life by resting, studying, worshiping in other churches, moving Chase into Georgia College, and traveling to Germany to visit my brother. Unlike a vacation, sabbaticals offer purposeful rest and intentional vocational renewal. I will take time to renew my vocation by refreshing my conducting, choral, and singing skills. I will peruse new music for the choirs. The hardest part for me will be to simply rest.
While I am away, you will be in good hands. Dr. David Keith will be leading the music on Sundays and Wednesdays, as well as directing the choir during rehearsals and worship.

This season of mutual renewal and learning is sponsored partly by a generous grant from the Lilly Foundation through the Center for Teaching Churches. The grant will fund Dr. Keith’s work with Highland Hills, as well as his workshops with me. The grant will also provide funds for a youth internship. Since Caitlin Childers Brown, our present Ministry Associate and Youth Intern, will be leaving for seminary during the sabbatical, a new Youth Intern will be hired to provide leadership in the youth program. The intern will work in conjunction with the Youth Committee.
I am excited about this opportunity to get away for a little while and to rest and rejuvenate my ministry with Highland Hills. Please keep me in your prayers as I leave for this season of rest and renewal.