I am greatly appreciative to Seattle Presbytery for the opportunity of a 2-month sabbatical (August – September 2016). My first ever, and most certainly a most memorable one.
I began my time away by attending the general assembly of the Alliance of Presbyterian and Reformed Churches of Latin America as a delegate from the PCUSA’s National Latino/Hispanic Caucus. For a week in Sao Paolo, Brazil, delegates met for a consultation on ecological justice, the status of women in Latin America and the role of the Church in both of these areas.
Conversations were also held around the topics of Latino immigrants and their faith communities in the US, new and reformed liturgical resources and the political and economic realities affecting Latin American countries, including peace negotiations in Colombia and instability in Venezuela.
Following the conclusion of the assembly, I took advantage to visit Rio de Janiero (during the Olympics, no less!) and Iguazu Falls, considered one of the seven wonders of the world. One word: amazing!
My husband and I also had the opportunity to travel to Spain and visit Santiago de Compostela, considered by many as a holy pilgrimage site, and attend worship at the Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona. From there, we traveled to Romania and drove through the northern Moldavian region visiting various painted monasteries from the middle ages. These religious communities are still home to hundreds nuns and monks who maintain daily ancient Orthodox rites and services.
Both these countries play a significant role in my family’s cultural identity as my father’s family comes from the Galician coast of Spain (location of Santiago de Compostela) and my husband is from Romania.
I had embarked on this sabbatical time with the hope of experiencing a variety of Christian worship expressions from both the western and eastern churches, and I was not disappointed. As someone who relishes the stories and traditions of “others” and partners with diverse communities in the greater Seattle area, this was an invaluable opportunity to learn, listen and synthesize for our ongoing ministry at Seattle Presbytery.
Again, thank you all for your support during this sabbatical season, in particular my colleagues Scott Lumsden and EJ Lee.
I look forward to this next season of ministry and welcome all the ways we can serve our Lord together!