Gipe Family Sabbatical

On November 26, the elders approved for Marshall Gipe to receive an 8-week sabbatical in the spring of 2019. When previously discussing a sabbatical, Marshall and Becky shared that spring would be more convenient for them than a summer sabbatical. Since one goal of a sabbatical is rest, it seemed best to seek to give them such a gift in a time that best suits their situation! Since the two previous sabbaticals the church offered were summer 15 and summer 17, that would put the Gipes on schedule for summer 19. That meant as elders, we needed to consider if spring 2019 or spring 2020 seemed to serve best.

The two factors in offering a sabbatical need to be the condition of the church and the condition of the pastor. As elders, we gave careful thought to the timing of a sabbatical while we are “short-staffed” and calculated if we thought it would create undo pressure or strain upon the body. While any sabbatical creates challenges the body (challenges we’ve seen the Lord use to grow/strengthen us), we do not believe the timing of sabbatical this spring will cause unusual or excessive strain. In fact, we believe the timing can actually be beneficial to the body, the staff and elder team.

We also think the timing lines up well for Marshall and future ministry at Grace. Recently, it’s been exciting to see Marshall processing through being more contemplative and aware of issues of the soul. Over these eight years on staff, it’s been a joy to watch Marshall flourish in the pastoral role as he also helps accomplish administrative tasks. In fact, we believe there is even greater opportunity for Marshall to grow in the area of soul care toward others. We recognize, along with Marshall, that these opportunities are sometimes limited by Marshall wanted to explore some of the issues in his own story before attempting to address such needs in others. The demands of day to day ministry can makes such exploration seem impossible.

Marshall and Becky are working details out for the exact nature and timing of the sabbatical. We know it will look somewhat different than previous sabbaticals as they will need to stay in the Miami Valley for the majority of the sabbatical (Halli’s senior year, plus Becky’s job at “Brigid’s Path”). We’ve arranged a coach to help walk Marshall through his sabbatical and help us know how to make the most of this opportunity.

As more details come together, we will keep you informed. We will plan an evening “family meeting” after Vision Night (since we’re focusing on Mission that evening) to discuss their plans, answer questions and consider how we can all grow through this experience.

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