Wednesday, April 22, 2009


We hit the road Tuesday morning for Avila Beach, CA, where we will spend the next three weeks (phase one of sabbatical). We are staying in a home graciously donated by members of Ascension Lutheran Church. They told us they believe in sabbatical because of what it can do not only for the pastor/family involved, but for the local church, and beyond that, the larger church… a place called the kingdom of God.

We had barely been on the road five minutes when song broke out in the car. We are not sure which child started it, but to the tune of “A-Hunting We Will Go,” they all began singing, “Sabbatical we will go, sabbatical we will go…” They clapped. They cheered. They laughed. They were obviously very excited.

Their energy did not cease when we arrived at the beach house where they explored their room, picked out their bed, and set up camp. Unlike their parents, they hadn’t spent the last days packing and preparing and staying up into the wee hours; they had simply been anticipating. We, though, were exhausted!

Even though we had sleepy eyes, we were glad to gather around our “altar” for evening prayer. An altar is a place that marks the presence of God. The standing wood cross given to Chamie by her friend Carolyn sits on our altar. So does the “travel” Bible given to Aidan by Ms. Hoskinson (from the preschool). And then there is Hannah’s prayer book from Lutheran Pastor Steve (a designation in our home because of mommy’s colleague Methodist Pastor Steve), as well as Jude’s triangle to ring us into prayer. At the very center, is the candle.

At the send-off dinner at Ascension on Sunday night, we were presented with a large pillar candle. The idea is that we will light it when we pray. Another identical pillar candle will travel through families at Ascension Church & School as they pray and write in the journal that goes with the candle. It is based off the experience of theologian Henri Nouwen who took a sabbatical nearly nearly fifteen years ago and wrote this:

"During my farewell celebration… two large blue candles were presented to me, one for me to take on my journey, and one to go from house to house in the community. They are prayer candles and are meant to remind me and those who sent me of our commitment to each other… Community is so much more than living and working together. It is a bond of the heart that has no physical limitations. Indeed it is candles burning in different places of the world, all praying the same silent prayer of friendship and love."

We are thankful for the candle, for just lighting it is a form of prayer, and we remember the community that sent us. We are also aware of other communities and people that travel with us… friends and family… Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Other… people we will meet on the way. Throughout the next three months, our candles will shrink, but our prayers and altars will grow. Our plan is to find something to add to our altar at every stop we make… Avila Beach… London and Cambridge and Coventry… cathedrals like St. Paul’s and Salisbury… the Holy Island of Lindisfarne… Notre Dame… the monastic community of Taize… the Redwood Forests… … the Oregon coast… Seattle… Bonner’s Ferry, ID… Columbus, MT… the Black Hills… Huron, SD… Luther Seminary… Lake Wapogasset Bible Camp… Fort Collins, CO… Garden of the Gods… Glenwood Springs… Mammoth Lakes…

Thank you for journeying with us. We pray that we will all grow in our knowledge and experience of the kingdom of God and that we may bear witness to that light! Amen, Amen!

“I really, really, really love spending time with my family.”
- said out of the blue by Jude Delkeskamp while driving in the van

Note… we will be leading a Family Retreat at El Camino Pines Bible Camp in Frazier Park, CA the weekend of November 13-15 based off the sabbatical experience. You can find more information at under “Events & Faith Communities.” Registration forms are also available at Ascension Lutheran Church & School and Lifesong Christian Communities. You may sign up at anytime, but a discounted rate is in effect through May 17, 2009.

1 comment:

  1. I am so happy for you and your family, PT. This is such an awesome opportunity for renewal and growth, both individually and as a family.

    I look forward to reading your blog throughout your journey.


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