Dear PCUM members and friends-
I write to you on a beautiful, warm June Saturday morning to wish you a blessed, relaxing summer and to say farewell until the middle of August. I will be back in the office on Monday, August 12th and back in the pulpit the following Sunday.
As many of you know, in recognition of the anniversary of a decade of rewarding ministry together, and with an eye toward the exciting years ahead of us, our church's Session (our authoritative board of elected elders) has suggested and approved a 7-week sabbatical for me. So, for the next 5 weeks or so, I will be based in the city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, focusing on slowing down, on trying to learn Portuguese, and on a few activities that mean a great deal to me. [If you would like to read more about my time away, please take a look at the attached "Sabbatical Proposal," an updated and more detailed version of the proposal approved by the Session and our Newark Presbytery earlier this year.] Upon my return to New Jersey, I will have another week and a half of personal time before returning in mid-August.
While I am gone, the Session, Pastor Katherine, and our wonderful staff will continue to lead the church ably and well. Area Presbyterian pastors are also standing by as back-up. I leave (and will return) knowing you are in good hands, and knowing that during these slower summer weeks members and friends will make an extra effort, when they can, to be present and to nurture the worship life that is the heartbeat of our life together as a church family. Thank you in advance for that.
I will miss you very much. This is a special, Spirit-filled congregation, the sum of which is more than its many amazing parts, and I honestly can't imagine being separated from you. Being part of PCUM inspires and nurtures me. So, please know that, while I may be far away in geographical terms, my heart, as it always is, will be close to PCUM and its people. I ask you humbly to keep me close to your heart, as well.
Since a sabbatical is an intentional time away from the normal routines and responsibilities, I will not be available and responsive to new and/or ongoing pastoral and programmatic issues as I normally would be. Personally, however, I will be thinking of you, keeping you in my prayers, and giving God thanks for all the ways you show me, each other, and the whole world the beauty and relevance of God's amazing love made real in Jesus Christ.
In fact, I think that's the ultimate purpose of these next 7 weeks: the Spirit of this place and our ministry together. The purpose of a sabbatical is to benefit both congregation and pastor, to pause and rest with an eye toward the future, and I look forward to what this new chapter in our shared life will bring.
Thank you for this opportunity--and for the privilege of being your pastor.
Fondly, and in Christ,
Pastor Greg Horn - 2019 Sabbatical Proposal: