GREETINGS MY WEBSTER FAMILY!
Because we are indeed a family, I am aware that it is important that all members are aware of my impending sabbatical break and exactly what it means.
The United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands (UCJCI) to which we as a Webster congregation belong, offers sabbatical breaks (which are longer than the regular annual vacation) to its ministers every 6 years as an opportunity for its ministers to take a break from regular work within the assigned Charge; providing an opportunity for rest, reflection and a “recharging of batteries” so to speak. In all my over 10 years at Webster, I have not opted to take this assigned sabbatical.
I have now decided to do so and therefore will be officially away from the Webster congregation, from May 1 to August 31, 2023.
During this time, as the term ‘sabbatical’ implies, I will be taking the opportunity to reflect, recharge and refresh myself both at the personal and spiritual levels.
These three objectives of a ‘sabbatical’, are considered essential and are expected to enable me to return with an even greater personal energy and drive as well as clarity in my vision for the church, and how we as a congregation at Webster may best carry out our mission and further improve our worship experience and the challenges of discipleship, outreach and evangelism that currently face us.
REFLECTION then will very importantly include a personal reflection in the context of my family; as husband, and father, as well as my role as a Minister and spiritual leader of the Webster Family. In this context, part of my plan includes sharing thoughts with other Ministers and Counselors, so as to engage my mind in exploring new ways that I believe may ultimately be effective in broadening my perspective as an individual as well as a Minister of Religion. I am indeed committed to the fact that learning in this context is a life-long activity!
RECHARGING: I will also be seeking to “recharge my batteries” through further study. This too, is a normal expectation of a ‘sabbatical’, and I have decided that given the changes in our environment, exacerbated by the onset of COVID, which has challenged the ways in which we worship and communicate with each other, that it is timely for me to be educated on the principles of ‘VIDEO PRODUCTION’, and how it may be used to effectively improve or enhance the worship experience in our Church.
REFRESHING body and spirit is an expectation of any sabbatical. So of course, I anticipate taking advantage of the opportunity this period offers for rest and rejuvenation and to enable me to return as physically, emotionally and spiritually strong as I am able to be.
Yes, I will be away, for a longer time than I have every been from you as a congregation, but it is my promise that this break will enable me to return to you my Webster Family, better equipped to be a servant of God in my ministry here at Webster.
Plans have been made to ensure that all the areas of the Church’s operations which normally fall under my responsibility will be appropriately taken care of. It is my anticipation that our worship, administrative and operational functions will flow smoothly under the care of Associate Minister, Rev. Delroy Harris and the Pastoral Team, as well as Ministers Rev. Raymond Coke and Rev. Norbert Stephens, who stand ready to assist as needed.
So as I depart, I ask for your prayers for God’s Guidance, and protection for me and my family, as I on my part commit also to have you ALL, in my own prayers!
GOD BLESS YOU ALL!
Rev. Astor Carlyle
Webster Memorial United Church.