From Pamela Hormerte, Clerk of Session:
On Tuesday, May 22, 2018, our Session of First Presbyterian Church met for our usual monthly meeting. We had guests that night, Rev. Gavin Meek, General Presbyter of Hudson River Presbytery (HRP) and Rev. Martin McGeachy, from the HRP Committee on Ministry. These guests were invited by Pastor Ben for their wisdom, advice, and the ability to answer our tough questions.
At the meeting, the Session voted to grant Pastor Ben a much-needed time of sabbath leave this summer, from June 11 through August 14. This is designed as a time of spiritual renewal for Pastor Ben and his family. As we were reminded by our friends from presbytery, it will be a time of leave for Ben, not a time of leave for the congregation. Ben may be our pastor, but the reason we come to church is to “praise the Lord!”
Ministering to a small but intense church, worrying about finances, keeping relationships fresh, being a husband and father with unexpected daily crisis and being called away to attend family deaths, has chipped away at Pastor Ben’s well-being. This leave will be a time of renewal, rest, and connection at a deeper level with God to strengthen Ben’s spirituality and relationship with his family.
Our gift is giving Ben permission to take his foot off the accelerator and put on the brake, roll to a stop and make decisions that will benefit both him and our Church. Pastor Ben has permission from the officers of Beacon Presbyterian Church to cut off communications via text, email, and phone. These earthly communications can interfere with his God from making a spiritual connection with His servant, Ben.
Ben’s Sabbath is boxed and wrapped up with a huge bow. In that box we have placed spiritual wishes and blessings to allow Ben to rest, renew, and connect at a deeper level with his God. In August when Ben, Gretchen, Lily, Hope and Nat return to their church home we will welcome them with open arms.
From Pastor Ben:
I am so grateful for the work of Session, and the support of Hudson River Presbytery, who collaborated to make this leave time possible. The past several years have brought challenges to our family that have made it difficult for me to serve with the energy and spirit I feel called to bring to my ministry here. I’m deeply grateful for this opportunity for rest and renewal.
What will the leave time look like for First Presbyterian Church? The church will continue the ministry to which it is called. Hudson River Presbytery will be lining up clergy to preach for Sunday worship during the leave time, generously covering any costs involved. I am working with session to put together a simple plan to ensure that other responsibilities, such as pastoral care and administration, are covered. We’ll be sure to let you know who to contact – for what purpose – while I’m away.
What will the leave time look like for the family? We are looking forward to some time to simply exhale and relax together, free from ongoing ministry responsibilities. We will spend part of the time away, and we will also spend some time here in Beacon. If we bump into you around town, we’ll be happy to say hello, but will keep any church-related or pastoral concerns out of the conversation until I return.
As we prepare for this time away, I’m confident that – between the Session and friends from Hudson River Presbytery – First Presbyterian Church is in good hands. Most importantly, I remember the words of Psalm 23. My prayer is that we may all experience God’s care in the green pastures and beside the still waters.