By Carmen Rich Zappi —
My sabbatical was awesome! It was one of the most significant and enriching experiences of my thirty-year ministry and so much more than a vacation. It was a gift of three months to gracefully step back from the activities of a busy ministry and slip into a period of rest and deep nurturing of body, mind and soul — time for spiritual growth and deepening my relationship with God, myself and my family.
Before leaving, I asked you to do some very specific things to support my sabbatical:
- Hold me in prayer. You did. I felt it.
- Hold Rev. Linda in prayer. You did. She felt it.
- Continue coming to church on Sundays. You did.
- Continue coming to classes, workshops and other events. You did.
- Continue sharing your time, talent and financial support. You did in extraordinary ways.
- Most of all continue your own spiritual growth. Only you know for sure, but it certainly seems to me that you did.
- Know that I love you and am holding you in my heart. I did and I do.
I returned to find you thriving, evolving, vibrant, happy, more connected and healthier than when I left. Well done! ALL of you. Thank you for making it so.
Great thanks to all who made it possible for me to leave in peace and to return in joy and celebration. It was an amazing grace to be given such a rare and exquisite gift. Sabbatical was so physically healing, mentally inspiring and spiritually empowering for me that I now pray every minister will have the opportunity to take a regular sabbatical.
Special thanks to Rev. Linda for having the vision, heart and skill to serve in my absence. A large part of the success of my sabbatical was her availability to lead the ministry while I was away. She brought the love, skill and spiritual depth to make it possible for me to know that all would be well while I was away and when I returned. Because she is such a powerful, gifted minister you continued your spiritual growth and renewal under her leadership. She is a rare jewel that we are blessed to call friend and member at Unity of Daytona Beach.
My deep gratitude to Board Trustees for supporting the idea and taking on extra leadership duties, Rev. Teresa for sharing her rich consciousness of love and service especially during Holy Week and Staff Members for continuing to work with high levels of love and commitment to excellence. You are the best.
Thank you Rev. Linda, Marianne Verna, Cammie Newton and Deborah Zeoli for your part in our welcome home celebration. You showered me with love, kind words, bright smiles, warm hugs, thoughtful gifts and a delightful reception. Al and I both felt very honored and blessed. You are angels.
Being back is awesome!