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Postcards From the Pastors

Updated: Aug 18, 2022

Co-Pastors Megan and Dave Collins are on Sabbatical this summer! Here is where they will share weekly updates about their travels and time away. The newest posts will be listed at the top.


Wednesday, August 17




This week has been our last big event of sabbatical, moving our oldest son out of the house to start college at FSU. We moved here just before his sixth grade year when he was still shorter than Megan! We are so grateful he was able to be here in the youth group at Maitland during such a formative time in his life. We are sure going to miss him, and are eager to see what this next chapter in his life holds.


This Sunday we will be coming to Maitland Pres to worship and say hello before we return to the responsibilities of worship leadership the following Sunday. We can’t wait to see you! Then on Monday we are back in the office and eager to reconnect with the ministry we have missed! So with that, this will be our last “postcard.” See you on Sunday!


Monday, August 8


This week is focused on routine and visioning. Now that we are feeling recovered, we are getting back into our normal routine to prepare to be back at the church. For us this means setting our alarm to exercise every morning (before it gets too hot!) and refocusing our mental energy toward the ministries at Maitland Pres. The time of these remaining days of sabbatical will allow us to continue working on the devotional and also dream about this next season of ministry at the church. When we were at worship in Glasgow, the preacher at asked the congregation “What is God’s dream for you?” What a great question for us as a church. What do you think God wants for our church? What ideas do you have? What can we dream about together? These are the kinds of questions we will be thinking about, and we can’t wait to hear your reflections when we return.


Wednesday, July 27



We have safely made it home! The past few days have been full of rest after a few busy days of travel and some lingering fatigue from being sick. We will now be shifting gears into the last portion of the sabbatical. In these last few weeks we will be doing lots of writing as we work on a devotional based on our “Everything Jesus Taught” materials. Then a few days before our return we will get our younger son started in his junior year of high school and move our older son to FSU for his first year of college.


Saturday, July 16



After two and a half years, our luck has run out, and everyone in our group has tested positive for Covid. It’s not the way we intended to spend our time in Paris, but the rest of the trip has been so wonderful. We are lucky that we will be out of isolation in time to travel home!


Monday, July 11




London was a great city but we were excited to move on to France. It’s been interesting to notice as we travel how some places we have felt at home, and others have felt so different. Yesterday it was really clear we “weren’t in Kansas anymore” when we got off at the train station and everything was in French! We navigated our way through the Paris metro to another train station and a few hours later we arrived at our first stop in France, the southern coastal city of Marseille. Marseille gets a bad wrap as being rough around the edges, but there is food from all over the world and a beach, so we love it! One thing that makes such a difference has been the people along the way who noticed we weren’t from here and made an intentional effort to offer help and a sense of welcome. Last night at dinner a family at the table next to us took time to share their favorite places to visit here. It would have been so easy for them to ignore us as we tried to translate the menu and figure out how to order, but they went out of their way to be kind and help us feel at home.


Friday, July 8



Today we picked up our second bonus son with the arrival of Andrew’s friend from the train station, visited the British Museum, explored London, took the underground and a boat, and got lost. A big first day in London!


Wednesday, July 6



Today we had lots of unexpected challenges and detours. After our first four (uphill) miles through dense grasses with a fair share of stinging nettle, we arrived at the town where we planned to eat dinner. It had one restaurant that only served reservations, and the next closest food store was several more miles away. This meant a detour from the hiking path to the bus stop to wait four hours for the bus to take us to find a meal. With the bus only coming through once a day, and no back up plan if it never arrived, we were so relieved when it appeared! After we found dinner, we hiked a final couple of miles down the road to our lodging. We arrived in the doorstep of the 400 year old farmhouse weary and dirty, but the day turned around when we met Maggie Green. Maggie is the host for the rooms in the farmhouse and was so kind and welcoming to us. She came running outside to greet us as we trudged down the road looking for the home. After some kind words from Maggie and a hot shower, we are ready to rest and be sent back to London tomorrow. But not before we eat Maggie’s full English breakfast.


Tuesday, July 5



Yesterday we took the train from Glasgow to London, then boarded another train to travel to the Cotswolds. Here we are taking a few days to through-hike on the Cotswold Way trail. We carry all of our things with us and hike through the English countryside from one inn to the next. Today we hiked six miles through meadows, sheep fields, forests and hillside to travel from Chipping Campden to Broadway. You can’t use a GPS for the trail, so our written decorations said things like “pass through the opening in the stone wall and go through the field to the kissing gate.” What an adventure! When we talked about home in May at church, we talked about the importance of providing a place of hospitality for others. We are certainly relying on the hospitality of others as we show up on the footsteps of these inns tired and hungry. It’s the small things that seem to make all the difference to us - a clean bed, a warm cup of tea and a friendly greeting.


Saturday, July 2




Since our last update, we did another day of hiking in Skye, then we had to say goodbye to our cabin on this beautiful and wild island. We began our journey to Glasgow with a stop in Oban. Megan was under the weather for a couple of days, but today she is on the mend so we did a walk around an art museum in Glasgow. The caption on this painting made us laugh. Apparently they had not read Song of Solomon? We learned this week that our lodging in Oban was built for a pastor who lived out his final years there, and our apartment in Glasgow is owned by a couple who worked for a mission program in China.


Sunday, June 25



The Isle of Skye is known for its hiking. And we have had lots of time in the fresh air these past two days! We had one beautiful day climbing near the “Old Man of Storr” and a rainy day today exploring the Fairy Pools. We are so grateful for this time of mental rest as we hike and have time with our family.


Friday, June 24



We made it to the Isle of Skye! A huge kudos to Dave for driving us through the mountain roads of Scotland! We saw a castle, skipped rocks by a mountain and now we are settling in to our cottage. Hoping to hike tomorrow and explore this beautiful island!


Thursday, June 23




Nature is such a gift to us. Yesterday we went to Portobello beach outside of Edinburgh. Today after a (somewhat treacherous) drive we made it to Laggan, in the Scottish Highlands! The place where we are staying is the butler’s apartment of a farm where Queen Victoria stayed once! There is something about being out in nature that gives us space to breathe and feel our minds quiet down so we can hear God more clearly. It’s one experience of sabbath rest, to be away from the noise of cities and suburbs. All we can hear on our porch here is the wind in the trees and the noise of two farm kittens playing under our feet. We will drive on to the Isle of Skye tomorrow!


Tuesday, June 21



John Knox, the man who brought the reformation to Scotland and father of the Presbyterian church, is buried next to St. Giles Cathedral.


Probably.


The former graveyard is now a parking lot. The church yard was paved over more than a century ago, and the earth has currents just like the ocean, albeit slower. So who knows where his body actually is now. But there’s a marker in the church parking lot that shows where he was buried in 1572. It’s also the pastor’s parking place.


It’s a powerful contrast to all of the ornate Victorian grave markers in other churchyards in the city. Some of them are ten feet tall and list the names of the ones who paid for the grave as well as the ones buried. They were deeply afraid of death and it shows on their headstones.


John Knox’s grave is more in line with our Presbyterian beliefs. We don’t fear death, or at least we’re not supposed to. We don’t believe in saints, or that any person is more special than any other. What matters is what we do in life.


Our church and our world exists as it does (for better and for worse) because of people like John Knox. We aren’t meant to revere them, but to learn from them. We must try and do what they did, to bring the best of ourselves to the needs of our age.

There is nothing magical about the past or about the people who lived in it. Reverence for the past will only make the lingering problems they left us more entrenched.

But we must never neglect it either. We have more to learn from them than we do to teach. Marking the graves of important people where they most likely are is a happy compromise. John Knox would probably approve.


Monday, June 20



We will find a church anywhere. 😀 Today we hiked Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh and came across these ruins from St. Anthony’s Chapel built in the early 15th century. It’s amazing to think of the history that happened in this place.


Sunday, June 19



It’s not everyday that you get to worship at St. Giles Cathedral where John Knox preached, but today we did! (John Knox was a leader in the Scottish Reformation). We would have loved for Brad and Margaret to see the size of the pipe organ and hear it echo off the large stone ceilings and stained glass. Spending the rest of today exploring Edinburgh and taking in the sights.


Saturday, June 18


This week we started the travel portion of our sabbatical! We arrived in Scotland this morning and we were so excited to be surprised by two of our Scottish friends waiting at the airport! We have spent time touring Edinburgh this morning with them and already love the history, people and architecture of this city. For Presbyterians, Scotland is a big part of our heritage and we look forward to discovering more of it over the next few days.

Saturday, June 11


This week we did something we haven’t done since college. We had to figure out where to go to church on Sunday! We ended up at an Episcopal church and enjoyed worshipping and noticing the things that were similar and different to what we are used to. It was definitely an eye opener into all the factors that people consider before deciding if and where they will go to church on a certain Sunday, and then what they might notice if they do attend. Our son commented that it’s a strange job we work in, that when we are off from work we go hang out at someone else’s office. 😀 There is truth to that, but we also realized how much we love the church, even when we aren’t leading. (Admittedly it was a bit more restful to go to church when we don’t have to be in charge!)


If last week was focused on rest, the majority of this week has been focused on preparation. First, we began the preparation for our older son to go to college by spending a few days in Tallahassee for his orientation. It’s amazing to think that in just two months he will be moving to FSU to start school. We have also been preparing for our trip that starts on the 17th. There are a lot of details to finalize but we are getting excited for the trip.

Our prayers are with you all, especially those anticipating surgery and for all the VBS volunteers who are hopefully resting today after a big week!

Saturday, June 4

The goal for our first week of sabbatical has been to take time to rest, especially mental rest. One of the things we love about being pastors is the variety of things we get to think about, from sermons to finance meetings to pastoral care. But this past week we have found a mental quiet in being away from our email and cell phones and daily work. Instead we have been spending a lot of time outside, quietly reading books, and even taking the occasional nap. Without the rush of full schedules we can slow down and appreciate daily activities like leisurely preparing dinner or taking a long walk. For our anniversary we were able to spend four hours lingering over dinner and reflecting on how much we are grateful for. This mental rest has made us feel more present. (We haven’t noticed the clouds this much in years). Thank you, church family, for this gift of time. One thing that really impacted us last Sunday during the sabbatical sending liturgy was the moment when church leaders were invited to stand. Thank you to each of you for leading the church and making this time possible for us.


Sunday, May 29

Seven years ago we started here at Maitland with a sermon series called Coming Home. Now we are finishing our seventh year reimagining what home can be. This summer you have been gracious to send us on a sabbatical. We are so grateful for this time to rest, travel, write, and be reinvigorated for our next chapter in ministry with you. During our time away we’ll be thinking about this church home and how we can partner with you to make it a church home for others. We’ll be sharing some of our reflections on this blog. But we’d like to invite you to do some reflection too.


Jody, our preacher in residence for the summer, will be talking more about home in his sermons. We would love for you to bring in written stories or a sentence or two or a photo about why this is your church home, how you have experienced things like belonging and hospitality and refuge here. You can place written thoughts or photos it in the house shaped glass box on the table at the back of the sanctuary anytime over the summer so we can share these together when we return. When we get back, we can talk about these together and listen for God’s leading on how our church home can be a home for others too.





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