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a pastoral letter from Fr. Nathan
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Dear DMAC Family & Friends,

Beginning Monday, May 31 through Tuesday, August 31, I will be taking my first sabbatical since beginning as DMAC’s Rector in 2016. 

A sabbatical is a time of deep rest and disconnection from standard rhythms in order to renew connections with God, self, and family. Our diocese encourages rectors to take sabbaticals every 4-7 years. I'm thankful for a generous grant from the Anglican Diocese of the Rocky Mountains and the steadfast support of our Vestry that has made this possible.

A sabbatical is not exactly a vacation, nor is it a time be busy with learning or the usual work of pastoral ministry. It is a time for me, as your rector, to realize my complete and total dependence on God, and to practice fully releasing the church and the work that is so close to my heart fully to the providence and provision of the Spirit.

Over time, rectors can begin to think the church can’t go on with out them. Sometimes congregations can think in the same way. Sabbatical is the anti-dote to this anti-Christ way of thinking.

While on sabbatical, I will rest completely from my administrative, pastoral, and priestly roles at DMAC. This means our family will not be present at any services or events, meetings or gatherings, and all my normal duties will be carried out by other members of the community. I will be unavailable by phone or email during this time.

Our Pastoral Liaison, Steward Toliver, will be responsible for overseeing day to day operations of the church along with our administrative assistant Michelle Kennedy. Deacons Tim & Jen will take point on pastoral care as needed. Fr. Koos van Leeuwan will be the primary (but not only) celebrant June-August, and you will be receiving the preached Gospel from many people we love and trust like Fr. Scott Brewer, Deacon Tim, Deacon Jen, Bryan Myron, Steward Toliver, & Nick Davis.

I have faith this will be a time of growth for our church as we witness together the gracious provision of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Please pray for me as I take this time to rest, that I will truly rest in God, and entrusting myself totally to him, and that I will be faithful to invest substantially in my family. I promise to pray for you, too, that you will remain focused and faithful to God’s calling on you to be a profoundly Jesus-shaped family. I know and trust you will remain faithfully present with God, with one another, and with your neighbors.

Many have asked what I intend to do on sabbatical.

At first, I responded with a long list of things, to which many wise mentors said, “That’s too much.”
A few weeks ago, another godly member of our community wisely said to me something to the effect of, “Don’t fill your time so much that God can’t show you how he wants you to spend it.” I have taken this to heart and drastically scaled back my initial intentions.

The only things I am reasonably certain I will do are pray, journal, reflect, do my best to listen to the Lord. I intend to spend deep time with Amber, Jensen, Selah, & Gwyneth. I will spend some much-needed time in extended solitude. I look forward to simply being in the pew in various Phoenix churches for a while, practicing resting, receiving, and delighting in the diversity of God’s people.

I count being your pastor and priest as one of the greatest honors and joys of my life, and I look forward to returning in September refreshed and ready for the next season of ministry alongside you!

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Nathan+
Rector, Desert Mission Anglican Church
Call or text: 480-455-0336

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