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Join us in meaningful rest and discovery this Sabbatical Summer!

Beginning Sunday, April 28, our St. Francis community is embarking on an exciting and rewarding experience – Sabbatical Summer! Fr. Davies will be on a pilgrimage journey that will take him through China and Scotland, visiting religious sites and World Heritage sites. As a congregation, we will be making pilgrimages of our own, many of which will explore other faith traditions, and others that will be entirely personal.

 Our Sabbatical Summer will have two parts – Fr. Davies’s experiences and those of the congregation. While our activities will be separate, we will be following similar paths of pilgrimage.

 As a congregation, we will have several types of pilgrimage experiences:

  • organized group trips to sites significant to our own and to other faith traditions,

  • individual pilgrimages to places of personal significance, and

  • “virtual” pilgrimages where we explore important sites and events through the internet and discussion.

 Each member of the congregation, including children and youth, is encouraged to take a personal pilgrimage of some kind to a place of spiritual significance in their lives. For example, the pilgrimage could be to a childhood church, to a location in nature where they particularly felt the presence of God, to the grave of a loved one, or to a hospital where they gave birth or were born. These pilgrimages can be as dramatic as driving cross-country or as simple as going to the chapel of one’s own retirement community. What matters is that in some way we search for God.

 Our parish retreat at Waycross Camp and Conference Center in Brown County on September 13th — 15th will be the perfect opportunity to share our Sabbatical experiences, reconnect with Fr. Davies, and build an even stronger sense of community and purpose.

 As we study what makes other places and communities valuable to pilgrims and seekers, places known for faith over generations, we hope to better understand our own gifts and how we, too, can leave a legacy of faith to those who come after us.

Upcoming Pilgrimage Trips with St. Francis 

St. Francis of Assisi is our patron saint and we need look no further than his life to see the rich challenges and blessings of pilgrimage, especially in regard to international and interfaith dialogue. In 1219 Francis answered the call to the Fifth Crusade and went to Egypt in an attempt to convert the ruling Muslim Sultan to Christianity. Instead, they entered into a fruitful dialogue where each came to appreciate the major tenants of the other's faith. Francis' plans were usurped by subtle grace.

We will follow in the model of our patron saint on our own parish journey of pilgrimage. As we go in search of the gift of joy and wonder in all of God's works we will explore new and unfamiliar traditions and locations. We hope these trips will help us view our own path and faith as followers of the Risen Christ, striving to be instruments of peace.

Learn more and sign up for trips online with Realm or contact the Church Office at 317-378-4377 or e-mail info@stfranciszville.org to sign up to participate.

Pilgrimage Visit to The Roofless Church in New Harmony

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Join us for a day trip to visit the Roofless Church and New Harmony Settlement in New Harmony, IN. We will depart from St. Francis at 8:00 am by bus and return at approximately 9:00 pm. Space is limited to the first 40 participants. Trip includes transportation to site, worship service, lunch, tour of New Harmony settlement, labyrinth, dinner, and transportation home.

 Visit www.indianamuseum.org/new-harmony for information on the history of New Harmony and the two different utopian societies that operated there. www.visitnewharmony.com provides information about visiting New Harmony and what there is to do there.

 

Snacks and drinks on the bus will be provided. Lunch and dinner plans are still being made, but we will ask you to either pack a lunch or plan to purchase lunch on the way to New Harmony.

  

To share your Pilgrimage Remembrances, please use our online form

  

To share your Pilgrimage Remembrances, please use our online form


Pilgrimage Resources

A Letter from Fr. Davies on his Sabbatical

There is an interesting juxtaposition of preparing for a leave and taking a leave. In preparation, there are many details to chase down: What will you do? Where will you go? How much does this way of doing it cost versus that way of doing it?

But once you have all the details settled, then you can begin to breathe deeply and relax.

That breath, which in Hebrew is called Ruach, is the breath of the Spirit. Breathing in that breath of the Spirit for a few months, will fill you again with joy and wonder in all things, and the desire to pick up ones call with a renewed sense of call and dedication.

My sabbatical will be a series of pilgrimages framed by four distinct periods.

The first period will be to dramatically change the rhythm of my day. I plan to do that by changing time zones, the culture I am living in, the food and the language. I will be going to China for three weeks. While in China I will experience at least nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites. If you do not know about these, please look them up online; they are some of the most wonder-full places on the planet. Some were created by our Creator and some have been created by humans.

The second portion of my sabbatical will be to internalize that experience by visiting the Iona Community in Scotland where my wife and I will pray and journal and settle down after the experience of visiting China. Visiting China, I might add, includes four flights and a barge trip, and that’s after flying over 6,500 miles to get there!

The third phase involves continuing to explore UNESCO World Heritage sites in Scotland, but rather than tour around packing and unpacking, we plan to rent a flat for a week or two in a couple of different places and make more casual day trips really getting to know the land and the people.

Finally, as we begin to make the transition back to the United States, we will spend a few weeks on vacation with our grandchildren and their parents. This is an annual treat, and this year we will have some great stories to tell.

You, too, will be making pilgrimages. During my pilgrimage, the congregation at St. Francis will be intentionally exploring other faith traditions in Indiana. Your individual pilgrimages will ask the question, What makes each of these sites a faith heritage site and what would it take for our congregation to become a faith heritage site. It kind of plays on the UNESCO theme I am using.

One of the places the congregation will visit is the Roofless Church in New Harmony, Indiana. There is a sculpture at that church created by Jacque Lipchitz called “The Descent of the Holy Spirit.” Mr. Lipchitz, a Jew, created three copies of the sculpture. One is in France. One is at the Roofless Church and one is at the Abbey in Iona, Scotland. Our plan is to visit the same sculpture at the same time on two continents.

I can only begin to imagine how all of this will positively impact my relationship with my congregation at St. Francis in the Fields Episcopal Church.

In addition, the pilgrimage that the congregation will experience will offer us new ways of engaging the world and, perhaps, being open to others. Our communities and society can use as much of that as we can get these years.

In peace,

Fr. Davies+


FAQ about the Rector’s Sabbatical

What is a sabbatical?

The word sabbatical has its roots in the Biblical concept of Sabbath (“to rest” or “to cease”). One of the Ten Commandments is “to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy,” a reminder from God that rest is essential to our lives and work. Sabbatical leave is a time for our priest and our congregation to shift gears in order to rest, disengage, study, reflect and travel in order to return to minister among us refreshed and renewed in body, mind and spirit. (It is not a time for routine work, mid-career assessment, job search, or terminal leave).

Sabbatical is more than a vacation from meetings, budgets, sermons, and people in need. It is a time to receive spiritual nourishment and a change in perspective, to deepen relationships with God – a season of spiritual growth. This special time will also be a season of rest and growth for the entire parish.

Do other clergy go on sabbatical?

Yes, sabbatical is now standard in all Episcopal (and most other) churches roughly every five to seven years. Most congregations report that their priest returns refreshed and revitalized, and that the parish moves on to new phases of ministry.

How Long will Father Davies be gone?

Beginning on April 28th, 2019 with a Leave-taking Liturgy, Fr. Davies will return to his role as Rector in full at the 2019 Parish Retreat at Waycross Camp and Conference Center on September 13th, 2019.

What will Father Davies be doing on his sabbatical?

Fr. Davies will be traveling to China, Tibet, Scotland and other locations to visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites. He will also be spending time with family. He will be engaging in prayer and deep spiritual reflection to renew him both as a disciple and as a minister.

Who will cover his responsibilities in his absence?

Fr. Steven Giovangelo will be our Sabbatical Priest will serve on the altar in Fr. Davies’ absence, celebrating almost all of the Sunday services at St. Francis In-The-Fields. In addition, Fr. Mike Galvin will be a consistent Sabbatical Pastoral Care Priest to be available to the parish for times of trouble, sickness, sorrow, or any other need. The congregation will be well tended.

Our bishop, The Rt. Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, is supportive of clergy renewal and will be available.

Who will cover the expenses of the sabbatical?

St. Francis In-The-Fields Episcopal Church was awarded a grant of $50,000.00 by the 2018 Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Program for Indiana Congregations. Administered by Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, St. Francis is one of 28 congregations in Indiana selected to participate in this competitive program.

The grant will cover all expense of Fr. Davies’ travels and will also cover all parish pilgrimage events, including the full costs of the All Parish Retreat in September.

Who do I call if I have a family or personal crisis?

If you have a pastoral emergency, please call the church at 317-873-4377 and speak with the Parish Administrator or follow the prompts after hours to leave a message. Our system will automatically reach the priest on call, Fr. Steve Fales, and they will be in touch soon.

This is the same system that is currently in place at St. Francis and will not change during the sabbatical. It is very important to the clergy and staff of the church that we are able to be reached at any time. It is in joy and sorrow that we journey together.

Will the church be in a "holding pattern" while Father Davies is away?

No, the church will be continually engaged in learning and action centered on the theme of pilgrimage, while mindfully taking a ‘sabbath’ and resting together.

Each member of the congregation, including children and youth, will also be encouraged to take a personal pilgrimage of some kind to a place of spiritual significance in their lives. For example, the pilgrimage could be to a childhood church, to a location in nature where they particularly felt the presence of God, to the grave of a loved one, or to a hospital where they gave birth or were born. These pilgrimages can be as dramatic as driving cross-country or as simple as going to the chapel of one’s own retirement community. What matters is that in some way we search for God. We hope to serve in that way as companions to Father Davies, living as a congregation of pilgrims that reunite in fall 2019 with stories, lessons, and an energized vision of our common call to ministry.

In addition to personal pilgrimages, the congregation will engage in many different activities around the theme of pilgrimage. Not unlike Father Davies’ visits to World Heritage Sites, we will take day-long bus trips to what we’re calling “faith heritage sites” in Indiana, including the Mosque at the Islamic Society of North America in Plainfield, the Buddhist Cultural Center in Bloomington, a Jewish Temple in Indianapolis, the New Harmony Settlement, and St. Meinrad Archabbey.

As we study what makes other places and communities valuable to pilgrims and seekers, places known for faith over generations, we hope to better understand our own gifts and how we too can leave a legacy of faith to our descendants.

What if I have a baptism, wedding or funeral I need to plan?

The church will continue to support its members, including offering all sacraments.

Will Father Davies be in contact with St. Francis In-The-Fields while on sabbatical?

We will hear from Fr. Davies on occasion if he is able to share with us. Updates and pictures will be shared in our weekly newsletter, announcements, and on the Narthex screen if we receive them, but it is the expectation that Fr. Davies will have many new stories and experiences to share in September.

What if I bump into Father Davies around town?

Stop and say hello! But please keep in mind that Fr. Davies is on sabbatical and be respectful that he is in a time of rest apart from the parish.

We will officially welcome him back with a celebratory liturgy and Coffee Hour on August 18th, 2019 and receive him back into relationship with the church on that day. This celebration will continue towards the Parish Retreat in September, allowing him to transition back into the full role of Rector.