Moving Forward from Sabbatical: Holiday Reflections 2007

December 28, 2007

Dear Friends,

Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! As I write this, I am filled with gratitude for a year of graced Presence, for the Lord of Love incarnate, and for all of you who share this journey with me. Thank you for your presence in my life, and for your thoughts and prayers as I embraced the summer months of sabbatical rest and the fall months of “emerging.”

One dear colleague urged me many months ago to write about my sabbatical this past summer. While there’s no finished article or presentation yet about that, I can write a few things briefly:

It was all I hoped for and so desperately needed.

I spent a lot of time outside and enjoyed inhabiting this wonderful city.

I read much about local church ministry AND delighted in reading fiction and poetry. (The biggest success was not taking notes on any of it!)

I often noticed I was doing things slowly just because I could.

Now, I catch myself thinking, sometimes, about just one thing at a time!

I’ve felt a marked shift from being future-focused to past/present reflective. (For example, savoring and reflecting upon what’s already been completed, vs. ALWAYS moving ahead to what’s due next).

I have never felt so rested.

I feel what biblical Sabbath promises — a uniquely worshipful energy and creativity.

While I’m no longer in the uniquely restful time of complete sabbatical, I’m intentionally trying to remain in this qualitative shift as I set goals and pace the development of a new ministry.

In October, I began the programming of Living Well Ministries, a parachurch ministry committed to “supporting lives of faith, intention and service.“ In November, I moved into an office at St. James Presbyterian Church in West Rogers Park, where I will be able to hold many of LWM’s events. I’m also interested in other venues, particularly those more physically accessible.

Through LWM, I will continue to lead retreats, seminars and support groups, as well as begin a new spiritual coaching ministry for individuals and congregations. I’ll also continue to do the small event organizing that I enjoy, as LWM hosts or co-sponsors events with guest leadership.

In short, I am rested, filled with gratitude and creative stirrings. I’m prayerfully building this ministry slowly, with a passionate conviction about my own “living well” as I support others in doing so. I ask for your continued support in prayer and in whatever co-labors the Spirit might prompt.

If you’d like more information, or to discuss how I might serve you or your church in 2008, contact me at 773-655-4357 or livingwell@rcn.com. I’d be delighted to explore educational events, retreats, consulting or pulpit supply. Wherever you are in the seasons of your life’s journey, know that I think of you often and hold you in prayer. I pray that your worship, study and contemplation this Christmas season remind you of the simplicity of all Emmanuel proclaims and promises.

Peace and love,

Jacki Belile

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