I am working on a two page document summarizing some of my work, thoughts and conversations from Sabbatical - some of them have creeped into my sermons already. I hope to complete that in the next week or so. The biggest feeling I felt during this time away was confirmation. Confirmation of my call to ministry, confirmation of my call to Stahl and also to Mennonite Church USA.
While I was on sabbatical I had an article published in the July Issue of the Mennonite. It is based on a sermon I gave here at Stahl last year about how we use filters when we read scripture - and how many times those filters actually stop us from hearing some of the very powerful things that the Bible has to tell us about God, discipleship and Church. I was also asked by our conference (Allegheny Mennonite) to speak on Saturday night at the conference worship on Saturday night. It feels very good to be validated and recognized by the larger church. We are part of a larger community - and while we don’t agree on everything - this bigger community helps us on this journey to follow Jesus.
Prior to leaving I was part of Vacation Bible School - it felt great to work with Thomas Mennonite in order to connect with a larger group of kids. VBS is a very important part of church - offering a time to connect with the kids on a more time intensive way. The problem was that as a smaller VBS was so much work. Partnering with another church allowed us to still make this program available, but let us share the work with more people. There were about 40 children there each evening.
I am excited to continue to be a part of the work that God is doing in our church. Thank you for trusting me to guide us all through this time of renewal and discernment.
- Bob Brown, pastor