Pausing to Give Thanks

Pausing to Give Thanks

Shared by the Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas, Bishop Diocesan.

Next week, on December 1, I will begin a three-month sabbatical. The root word for sabbatical is sabbath: a time set apart from everyday roles and responsibilities to be with God – a time to pause, rest, and reflect. All clergy serving in full-time parish or diocesan ministry in Connecticut, including your bishops, are blessed with the privilege of a three month sabbatical after five years of continuous service. Since my last sabbatical was July-September 2016, I had hoped to begin my second and final sabbatical last summer following my call for the election of the XVI Bishop Diocesan and a full year before I depart as your bishop on October 8, 2022. Because of the surge of the COVID-19 Delta Variant in the late summer I chose to postpone my sabbatical until a more suitable time.

Five years ago my sabbatical included the study of non-profit management at Harvard Business School and my first ever pilgrimage to the Holy Land. This upcoming sabbatical will be much more quotidian and less-glamorous. Often bishops are too busy to put their affairs in order before retiring; and yet it is important for diocesan archives that a bishop’s papers are well kept. Because of my commitment to leaving well and my appreciation for archives, I plan to use my upcoming sabbatical to go through and organize my papers, correspondence, files, emails, and books that have accumulated during the twelve years I have been bishop in preparation for collection in the ECCT archives. This archival work, however, will be much more than an administrative exercise. I have been invited by my spiritual director to pause with each file, letter, and email and give thanks to God for the blessing of each and every companion in Christ with whom I have shared in God’s mission of restoration and reconciliation. I very much look forward to such.

In order to live fully into this sabbath time of pausing and giving thanks, I will not be responding to incoming emails, phone calls, or correspondence; nor will I participate in Sunday parish visitations or diocesan meetings including our Wednesday morning Zoom calls with wardens, clergy, Region Leadership Teams, and ECCT staff. There will, however, be a few exceptions as I will continue my work with current clergy discipline cases and pressing property development plans for real estate held by the Missionary Society of ECCT. While I am away, episcopal oversight for ECCT will be in the most able and caring hands of Bishop Laura Ahrens. I thank God for Laura’s ever-sustaining collegiality, support, and friendship.

I close with the words of the Apostle Paul which sum up my feelings for all in ECCT as I go on sabbatical: “We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3)

ECCT Stories: Sharing Our Story

Welcome to the new home of ECCT Stories on our newly updated website!

As you’ve likely discovered by now, there are many new features included in this website. And there’s one you may not have stumbled upon just yet: Sharing Our Story.

The Sharing Our Story pages are all about “Who We Are”—Our Past, Our Present, and Our Future.

We hope you’ll take a few moments and explore “Our Past,” and maybe discover something you didn’t know before.

You’re in “Our Present” right now! Our stories, blogs, and vlogs are our present, telling the stories of our life together and where we see and experience God moving amongst us.

And while both of these pages, “Our Past” and “Our Present” are, and will continue to, share “our story” as followers of Christ in the Episcopal Way in Connecticut, there is one other page you may be wondering about—”Our Future”.

“Our Future” is about all of us. It is an interactive space where we share our hopes and aspirations for our diocese as followers of Jesus in the Episcopal Church in Connecticut. “Our Future” invites us to share, listen, watch, and pray with one another for the future we dream of. And then, to step forward boldly in the name of Christ to bring “Our Future” into “Our Present.”

So stop by, watch, listen, read, and pray…and then share your dream for “Our Future.”