Panel at Bethany Seminary Luncheon Considers the Benefits of Sabbath Rest

223rd Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren
San Diego, California — June 29, 2009

A panel discussion on Sabbath rest was the program for the Bethany Theological Seminary luncheon sponsored by the Alumni/ae Coordinating Council. The panel included Connie Burkholder, spiritual director; Lisa Hazen, pastor; Marilyn Lerch, Training in Ministry (TRIM) coordinator and pastor; and Glenn McCrickard, pastor.

Each panelist has significant interest in Sabbath rest. Ed Poling, pastor, moderated the discussion with a series of questions including: How do you practice Sabbath rest? What is going on inside you that makes this important? What are the barriers you need to overcome in order to engage in Sabbath rest?

The panelists practice Sabbath rest in a variety of ways, they said–some daily, some weekly, some monthly, or yearly. All agreed that it is important to find what feeds one’s soul best and is compatible with ministry responsibilities.

Panelists acknowledged that the need for Sabbath rest often arises due to burn-out or crises that take one’s energy. Sabbath rest becomes a time to reevaluate priorities and do self-care. The need to feel productive sometimes leads ministers to think Sabbath rest is a waste of time, however the panelists reminded the audience that Sabbath rest is not a luxury but rather is critical for maintaining energy to minister to others.

In closing, Hazen reminded the group that we are made in the image of God–and God took a Sabbath rest.

Prior to the meal, Bethany president Ruthann Knechel Johansen introduced the faculty present including Rick Gardner, who is concluding a year as interim academic dean. Steve Schweitzer will begin as academic dean of the seminary on July 1.

–Karen Garrett is a recent graduate of Bethany Theological Seminary.

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The News Team for the 2009 Annual Conference includes writers Karen Garrett, Frank Ramirez, Frances Townsend, Melissa Troyer, Rich Troyer; photographers Kay Guyer, Justin Hollenberg, Keith Hollenberg, Glenn Riegel, Ken Wenger; staff Becky Ullom and Amy Heckert. Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, editor. Contact
cobnews@brethren.org.