Practicing Sabbath: A Day to be Holy

"Our inability to rest reveals where our trust lies."   

Woven into the rhythms of creation itself is the weekly invitation to take a Sabbath rest.  As Bishop Palmer reflected on the importance of this practice in his remarks August 2018, he said this… “Without stepping away from the regular grind, we in reality become less effective rather than more. We can become dull and find our relationships untended.”  Sabbath is a gift from God for both laity and clergy.

At our 2018 West Ohio Annual Conference, we passed a vacation policy that stipulated a 6-day work week for full-time clergy, which included a day for Sabbath rest.  Many clergy desire to weave this into the rhythms of their lives but simply do not know what that could look like. 

Read Rev. Mick Whistler’s reflection on the importance of Sabbath and Resting in Christ.

Here are some helpful reminders & tips about how to make it a reality.

  • REMEMBER: Your Sabbath is NOT the day to
    • Write your sermon
    • Catch up on the work you didn’t do the rest of the week.
    • Do pastoral care visits
    • Check your email

Practical Ideas for Sabbath

  • Turn off your email
    • “In an effort to practice healthy rhythms in my life as a pastor, I do not check email on                           .”
  • Inform your congregation and staff about when your regular Sabbath is and ask them only to contact you in emergencies. 
  • Empower your congregation to take care of the regular rhythms of ministry while you are on Sabbath.  When taking an extended time of rest, make sure there is coverage so you are able to be fully present.
  • Ask yourself - What makes your spirit sing? Plan at least one of those things.
  • Give yourself permission
    • To not do anything that doesn’t feed your soul
    • To not need your Sabbath to look like anyone else’s
  • Create some “Me & God” time that will feed your soul (i.e. a long meditative walk, an extended time of prayer, time for reading that speaks to your spirit, journaling, listening to music, dancing, singing)
  • Don’t hesitate to involve your family and/or friends (i.e. put dinner in the crock pot in the morning and allow for some meaningful family time in the evening without electronics)