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A Letter from Parish Leadership: Upcoming Sabbatical
From the Senior Warden
It’s hard to believe we are already into the fourth week of Epiphany. I hope all is well with you and your family in the New Year, and I am looking forward to our Annual Parish Meeting, which will take place on Sunday, February 11 at 10 am. (As a reminder, like last year, the meeting will be incorporated into our morning prayer service.)
In the meantime, I am writing to share with you the news that our Rector, Morgan Allen, will be taking a well-deserved and long-overdue sabbatical this summer. Based on his years of service at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Morgan’s former parish, and at Trinity, Morgan was eligible for a sabbatical two years ago. However, the complexities of the pandemic, which the world was still navigating through, made taking a sabbatical then infeasible. Morgan and I have had a number of conversations since I was elected Senior Warden, and we both believe the timing is now right.
As Senior Warden, I view one of my primary responsibilities to be to ensure that we have the best possible priest to serve as Trinity’s Rector. With conviction, I believe that to be the case. Relatedly, I believe it is important that I, as Senior Warden, and we, as a parish, help to create an environment in which Trinity’s Rector conducts their work, in the service of God and the Parish, energized and fulfilled. While Morgan continues to tackle his daily tasks with the same unrelenting vigor as he did on day one, the sabbatical will allow him a well-earned opportunity for replenishment. That replenishment, in turn, will help ensure that we, as parishioners, can continue to enjoy the complete array of Morgan’s many gifts without abatement. For these reasons, Morgan’s sabbatical has my and the Vestry’s full endorsement.
Morgan’s sabbatical will begin on Sunday, May 26, and conclude on Thursday, August 29. I will note that Morgan has voluntarily shifted his dates and shortened his time away to prioritize several important commitments this coming May, including the Convention when our Diocese will elect a new bishop. For that, and for Morgan’s two-year deferral of his sabbatical, I and the Vestry are very grateful.
While Morgan is away, our exceptional staff will continue to provide faithful pastoral care, programming, and worship. I expect that the vast majority of the day-to-day work will carry on as it otherwise would. Abi Moon, as Senior Associate, and Alison Poor, as Director of the Rector's Office, will continue to steward our programing, and Rob Hess, Trinity’s Chief Financial Officer, will continue to steward Trinity’s operations, along with Trinity’s Treasurer, Finance, Investment, and Audit Committees. I, Barbara Dortch-Okara, Trinity’s Junior Warden, and the Vestry will be available to address any decisions beyond the ordinary course when and if the need arises.
I and the Vestry are grateful for Morgan’s leadership and equally so for the work of the clergy and staff, who are already planning for a wonderful summer. Please join me in wishing Morgan and his family a meaningful and restorative time away this summer, all in anticipation of energized launch of the coming fall.
From the Rector
Dear Trinity Church and friends,
Grace and Peace and Epiphany season greetings! As Chris has shared, I am excited about my Sabbatical this summer, and I am enormously grateful for the opportunity.
Typically, Sabbaticals in the Church intend for the staff member to engage in restorative and scholarly work aimed for the parish’s benefit, and my time away will very much fit that bill.
In addition to time with family (that will include a tour of colleges with our soon-to-be-a-high-school-senior daughter – ack!), I am looking forward to working with my hands: building a fence, restoring a pinball machine, wrenching on cars – projects on a scale that my schedule typically will not allow without long stretches of interruption.
On the scholarly side, I will continue my study of God’s intention and ambition for the world – interests stirred during last year’s Holy Week sermon series. The Sabbatical will primarily anchor us in Texas, allowing me access to the resources of the Seminary of the Southwest, where I attended and now serve on the Board. This will also locate Missy and me near our extended family and our children’s summer programs.
For the Sabbatical to do its renewing work, I will be more detached from our parish’s life than during a vacation or the like. This is not an easy discipline for me! Even so, I recognize its importance, and honoring that distance is made much easier by the stellar colleagues on our staff and the wonderful leaders on our Vestry. In the office, we spent time last week building the scaffolding of our 2024-2025 Program Year, and, with the Ministry Council’s support, we will be well-prepared for summer, fall, and beyond.
In the meantime, we have wonderful seasons ahead, from the upcoming Annual Parish Meeting and Lent soon to follow; from Easter and the Marathon-weekend Anne Berry Bonnyman Symposium with author Alison Désir and Bishop Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows; from Confirmations and the visit of our diocesan bishop, Alan Gates, to an evening concert of Marvin Gaye and activist Motown music (buckle up for that one, Trinity Church!); I give thanks to God for the companionship in this engaged and excited Household of God!
With gratitude and looking forward to all the above,
The Rev. Morgan S. Allen