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Bishop offers three-day sabbath to clergy

Posted: April 29 2020 at 11:39 AM

All of us in the State of Illinois have been under an official stay-at-home order since March 22. Even the weekend before, clergy and laity teams responsible for worship began to figure out how to continue to worship online.

Clergy needed new skills and repeatedly I hear from clergy that they now feel like “producers” rather than preachers. All of this has been rather stressful as more “essential” services of the church, such as Bible studies, committee meetings, study groups, etc.—have gone “online” in one way or another.

The bishop in Iowa recently proclaimed a 3-day Sabbath for all clergy between now and the end of May. Bravo for her! Just last week, the cabinet and I were discussing a similar idea and therefore, I too am happy to proclaim a:

Three-day Sabbath for all clergy in our conference once between now and the end of May!

But, having said that, remember that all clergy get four weeks vacation per year. (The Three-Day Sabbath would be in addition to this regular vacation time.)

Many of us, myself included, have missed planned vacations due to COVID-19. While clergy and families may have little choice but to do a staycation, it’s still important that vacation time be used in order to replenish body, mind, spirit and relationships.

In order to facilitate congregations while clergy are taking a three-day Sabbath (at least), the cabinet and I will offer a recorded worship service that may be used. It will be available around May 7 or 8 at umcnic.org/videos and will be something that you can use any subsequent Sunday.

"Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well." 3 John 1:2

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