In the United States, last weekend — Memorial Day — marks the unofficial beginning of summer’s season of vacations, travel, and (hopefully) rest. We at Alban hope that you have something planned that feels renewing and life-giving in the weeks ahead. 

In this edition of the Weekly, we consider what we might need in this season for real renewal. We begin with an excellent reflection by Samuel Rahberg about living into joy late in the pandemic. Then, Susan Nienaber helps us imagine how we might move from languishing to flourishing. Jessica Young Brown reminds us that ministers and other congregational leaders cannot thrive if we neglect ourselves. We end the Weekly with a profile of Melissa Bane Sevier’s Alban book Journeying Toward Renewal: A Spiritual Companion for Pastoral Sabbaticals

Welcome to the Weekly!


Finding joy, late in the pandemic

Living into joy, late in the pandemic

A walk by a stream prompts a writer and spiritual director to wonder: Could a fresh understanding of joy help restore us?


Resources for leaders during the pandemic


From languishing to flourishing

How can we move both personally and congregationally from feelings of languishing to a deep sense of flourishing? United Methodist District Superintendent Susan Nienaber offers six recommendations.


Ministers and other congregational leaders cannot thrive if they neglect themselves

Ministers cannot thrive if they neglect themselves

Ministers and other congregational leaders must honor all aspects of their lives in order to be healthy for the work of ministry, says a clinical psychologist who focuses her practice on faith and mental health.


From the Alban Library

Journeying Toward Renewal: A Spiritual Companion for Pastoral Sabbaticals

by Melissa Bane Sevier

Journeying Toward Renewal: A Spiritual Companion for Pastoral Sabbaticals

“Time to reflect. Time. This is what clergy renewal is about. To continue in ‘the heat of work’ our whole career is to rob ourselves and our congregations of the time we and they need to reflect on our lives and our call. Here is where change begins,” writes author Melisa Bane Sevier. In this inspiring Alban book, she tells her own story and the stories of others on renewal leave as ways of inviting us to reflect on the kind of experiences that could contribute to our own renewal. 

Dorothy Bass, author of Receiving the Day, says that this book “offers personal testimony, practical advice, and an array of helpful resources that will inspire and empower pastors to seek and then to drink deeply of a time apart.” 

As you plan your own rhythm of work and rest, you’ll want her wisdom on your bookshelf. 


Before you go…

Whether it’s a long weekend away, a weeklong vacation, or a months-long pastoral sabbatical, taking time away from the daily pressures of congregational ministry is a life-giving practice. It has a way of renewing our vocation, resetting our vision and reawakening our creativity. It also, perhaps most importantly, helps us reconnect to those we love who often share the weight and burden of our work.

So, if you haven’t already planned to take time away this season, take a moment and put some dates down on your calendar. 

We’ll see you in your inbox next week, and in the meantime, peace to you! 

Nathan Kirkpatrick

Managing Director, Alban at Duke Divinity

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