Updated: 17 hours ago
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.
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.
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.