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Reflections from Pastor Terry

Two days before Thanksgiving, and slightly more than months since I’m back from sabbatical, I find myself I that liminal space between continuing to give thanks for the gift of sabbatical from the Lilly Endowment Renewal Program, and giving thanks for the blessing of family, friends, and all of you who are walking beside me right now.


Everyone ought to have sabbatical space. It is a time to breathe. It is a time to exhale and reassess all that you carry within and around you that is, or perhaps is not, necessary. It is a time for rest, and to listen to how the Spirit is directing you. Sabbatical space is healthy for all.


In our case (Kevin and I), sabbatical also included walking. We walked a pilgrimage route of El Camino. Walking alone and together, I began to notice several things. We could only live in the present. There was the care of our feet and the nourishment of our bodies. There was the awareness of scents and scenes and sounds—Portuguese good, Galician food, the ocean, birds, unfamiliar tongues.


There was the live in the present reality that we didn’t know where we were going. We didn’t know how it would be. We were reliant on strangers to guide us, and sometimes feed us with fruit from their gardens. We were reliant on each other. We were reliant always on the Spirit.


A strange thing began to happen to me. I realized that my feet that had not had time to train beforehand carried me anyway, almost as if they were an entity unto themselves. I began to feel strength beyond myself carrying me when there was no other explanation for one step after another. I was no longer in charge.


And then I began to notice that the feet, and hips, and shoulders and walking poles of those before us also joined with me. It was as if the steps of other pilgrims became one with my body. Whatever I may forget from this pilgrimage, may I never forget the peace of feeling joined as one body with all who walk together.


In that liminal space between sabbatical and Thanksgiving Day, I give thanks to all of you who, upon learning that New Beginnings had missed a step or two over the summer, immediately rose and began to walk with us. I give thanks to all of you who are receiving this newsletter who let me know, back from El Camino, that I do not walk alone. I give thanks to be part of this Body.


~Pastor Terry


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New Beginnings Worshipping Community is a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA)