The end of July raises a certain antsiness within me. It means that summer will soon be at a close, and the relief with which I welcomed it has started to turn into boredom and a desire for my favorite four months of the year to begin. Fall brings with it my favorite sights, smells, feelings...a glass of red wine while looking over a multi-colored forest, a chill in the air, the smell after the rain...the thought of those things alone cause me to sink back in my chair in contentment.
In anticipation of this season that won't get here quick enough, I'm taking a retreat of my own design next week. I'm just now starting to learn how to make the most of my continuing education time, and taking a few days of intentional personal reflection seemed appropriate, especially as the completion of three years of ministry nears, a new time of programming is set to begin, life and household changes are planned, and a renewal of creative spirit is desired. I always feel renewed by the approach of fall, and the timing seemed right.
So what will I be doing?
On Monday, I'll connect with a new clergy support group that meets in my Association. This group has existed for a while, but I was extended an invitation to join recently. Why, I'm not completely sure. The group isn't easily definable by age or location...perhaps, then, by spirit. That's good enough for me.
Tuesday and Wednesday will feature reading and writing about my current understanding of who I am as a pastor, as well as of ministry in my particular location. I've staked out a couple places around the area where I'll do all this...namely another church's library and a nearby coffeehouse. Each day will open with devotion and scripture and at some point leave room for journaling. I'll devote part of one afternoon to planning fall activities (maybe even Advent). By the end of my time, I'll have written an updated Statement on Ministry which, for those unfamiliar with the UCC Minister Profile, is a big important extensive deal. It's not for the purposes of drawing up a new profile...just that chances are that it's changed since I last had to discipline myself to write one.
At the end of each day, maybe I'll try to post a recap of what I accomplished. I guess the intent of that would be to help other pastors out there interested in structuring their own time of reflection.
It should be good. I hope it's good.