Notes from the pastor




Dear Front Street Family,

By now some of you are aware that I will be taking a short Sabbatical/Study leave this summer following Annual Conference.  I want to take this opportunity to explain what this means and why this is important to me.

Ministry is very challenging and very time consuming, and often stressful.  It does not allow a minister much time to study outside the given parameters of preparing for weekly sermons and funerals.  Like most teaching professions there comes a point when you feel spiritually and intellectually thirsty, and you have a need to return to the well of prayer and learning.  For this reason the Book of Discipline affords clergy the opportunity to take a sabbatical every seven years.  In my thirty six years as a United Methodist minister this will be my very first sabbatical. 

After consulting with our Bishop, our District Superintendent, and our Staff Parish Relations Team, I was given permission to step aside and use this time for study, prayer and personal reflection.  I will be away for six weeks, from June 19 through July 31, 2016.  This time was chosen because it is a quiet time in the life of the church with many of our families enjoying summer vacations. 

During my time away, the Rev. Patrick Murphy will be the minister in charge.  He will be assisted by our staff and lay leaders, as well as some of our retired clergy.  The pulpit will be filled by visiting ministers as well as our clergy staff, and the work of the church will continue in my absence.

As the word ‘Sabbatical’ implies this will be a time for me to rest from my pastoral duties as your senior minister for six uninterrupted weeks.  I will not be available to the church community for any reason including funerals.  It will be as if I don’t exist.  I will not be checking my email or answering my phone.  I have even promised myself not to look at Facebook.  In a way I will be disconnecting so that I can reconnect with God in deeper ways so that when I do return as your minister I will have sharpened my spiritual life (Proverbs 27:17).  By the way this is something I recommend we all do now and again.  Thank you for giving me this opportunity to practice Sabbath and be transformed through the renewal of my mind.


Pastor Ray Wittman
April 28, 2016









Last Published: April 27, 2016 3:18 PM
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