The preparation for this year’s Camino and Sabbatical has been layered. I’ve  needed to line up speakers for preaching and pastoral care.  I’ve needed to collect supplies — my boots, backpack, clothing needed for this hike.  I’ve needed to plan the stages I will be hiking — still in process.  I’ve needed to do training walks — like the picture above with a cool group of folk from church last fall.  And I’ve needed to talk with a team of people from the congregation about what kinds of events we want to plan both to do before I leave and for while I am gone.

Really I ought to have known that leaving town for three months would be just as strenuous as it is to leave for a week just multiplied by 12.  But I didn’t.  I imagined that somehow this preparation would not take hours of meetings and months of work!  I’ve met multiple times with Susan Brehmer, our Lay Leader, to sort out what, when, where and how.  She’s been a Godsend, gifted with the perfect spiritual gifts for this kind of work.  We’ve mapped timelines, set goals and achieved them!

One goal was to line up the speakers and find the interim pastor.  George Fox Seminary was a huge help in both these, with some of their professors willingly signing up to preach, and Dr Laura Simmons at George Fox helped us find one of their students to become our interim pastor, Bonnie Vance.  After three months of work, all speakers were lined up.

When Debbie Gabel our chair of church Council met Bonnie she just said, “Wow!”  Yes, we have hit the jackpot.

One thing Susan and I agreed upon was that the work before I leave was even more important than what happens while I am gone. By then everything needs to be running smoothly.  There’s lots more to be accomplished, but I feel like we have already taken major steps.

Sunday, January 31st, in worship, Bonnie Vance was with us and shared a bit about herself and we showed slides and listed everyone who will be speaking while I am gone in the fall.   Here is the list:


8/14-21 Rev. Bill Mullette-Bauer

8/28 Calvin Miller

9/4 Rev Bonnie Vance

9/11 Dr Laura Simmons

9/18 Dr Leah Payne

9/25 Mr Lucas Howard

10/2 Rev Erin Martin, DS

10/9  Dr Nijay Gupta

10/16 Dr Churck Conniry

10/23 and 30 : Mr Paul Watson, local missionary

11/6  Dr Laura Simmons

If you have not yet met Bonnie Vance, she will be joining us on future Sundays so that she has a chance to meet more of those in the congregation.

I’m thankful for the privilege of this journey year.

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