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Dan Bryant on Sabbatical
Summer, 2008
Greece, Turkey, Italy


Pastor Dan Bryant is on sabbatical during the summer of 2008 (for information regarding this sabbatical, please see the notes below).



Update from Rome (July 16th 2008):


The hotel internet server won't let me upload photos so it might be a while before I can post any more so here's one in the meantime just to let folks now I'm alive and well!  For those who do not know, the Arch of Titus, just above my left arm, was built to honor Titus and his victory over Jerusalem (70 C.E.).  The Colosseum (behind the arch) was built largely on the booty gained from that war.  (And of course my t-shirt commemorates the victory of the Ducks over Michigan.  No other booty gained from that battle!)


Update from Italy (July 13th 2008):


Update from Patmos (July 6th 2008):

While you are doing Church in the Park, I am sitting in an ice cream parlor just off the main square next to the port, waiting for my ship to come in (literally!) and watching the most incredible tennis match on a big screen TV with some British fans.  Its the Wimbledon final.  We're rooting for Federer.
Patmos was wonderful.  Met an Orthodox priest at the monastery yesterday who invited me to an ordination service this morning at a church just outside the 1000 year old monastery.  I was there for over an hour and think I missed at least the first half of the service if not more.  Quite an experience.  I received communion (bread only) from the newly ordained priest (after kissing his hand).  Had a great conversation with my priest friend afterwards and then went to the Cave of the Apocalypse where St. John wrote the book of Revelation according to the local tradition (and firm conviction of all here).
I started a new picture album with my Patmos photos:  .http://gallery.me.com/danbryant#100219
I have a berth on the ferry so should get a decent night's sleep while heading back to Athens, but it doesn't leave until midnight.  Then I head south to explore the Pelopponese area of Greece.

Photos from Turkey are here: http://gallery.me.com/danbryant#100217.

Photos from Rome are here: http://gallery.me.com/danbryant#100246

Tomorrow I start my island-hopping portion of the trip:  Mykconos, Delos, Patmos (update posted June 30th, 2008).


Information regarding Dan Bryant's 2008 Sabbatical:

We received a letter from the Lilly Endowment which begins, "To First Christian Church:  It is a pleasure to inform you that Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded a grant of $44,708 to First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for its clergy renewal program."  

We are one of 133 congregation across the country that will support their ministers in the program, which allows pastors to step back from their busy lives and renew their spirits for the benefit of their ongoing ministries.

Now in its 8th year, the program invites congregations and ministers to consider and plan a period of  intentional reflection and renewal.  It provides a time for ministers to take a break from their daily obligations and gain the fresh perspective and renewed energy that a carefully considered "sabbath time" of travel, study, rest and prayer can provide.  Up to $15,000 of the grant may be used to fulfill pastoral duties during the minister's absence and for expenses related to the congregation's own renewal.  The 133 grants this year total nearly $5 million.


The Endowment's larger goal is to bolster the good work that America's pastors and congregations accomplish day in and day out, to reinforce and build upon important work being done on both sides of the pulpit.   Lilly Endowment Senior Vice President Craig Dykstra says, "In our religion grant making, we hope to strengthen the efforts of today's excellent pastors because it is no secret that pastors who have reconnected themselves to the passions that led them to the ministry in the first place are more likely to lead healthy and vibrant congregations."


The grant application, written by Maureen Russell and approved by our Board states,
"Under the theme of “God and empire,” this renewal program will immerse our Senior Minister in the Roman empire of the first century as encountered by the Apostle Paul.  Through personal study, reflection, and travel to selected sites where the world of the Roman empire of the first century can best be observed, Dr. Bryant will seek to gain greater understanding and insight into the ways in which faith in Christ speaks to the power of empire then and now. As an outcome of this sabbatical, it is Dr. Bryant’s desire to renew his own sense of vocation as a pastor in this time when empire and faith converge on the world stage.


"This renewal program seeks to support Dr. Bryant’s efforts to lead the congregation in a broader and intentional engagement with our culture and the structures of society. By understanding how Paul and the early church engaged the empire of his world with the Gospel, we hope to better grasp how God is leading us to engage the world today to be part of an intentional Christian community where Christ’s vision of the Kingdom of God and Paul’s message that “Jesus is Lord” are made tangible.  Currently the congregation is in the midst of a year-long “visioning” process led by Dr. Richard Hamm.  A sabbatical after the completion of this process will be ideal for our pastor and congregation."

Dan's sabbatical plans includes some time of respite, study and travel to the Mediterranean.  The sabbatical will be for 3 months, over the summer of 2008.  One of Dan's desired outcomes is to lead a tour of the Roman world for members and friends of the congregation in 2009.  We will share more details of his sabbatical with you as they develop.


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Photo of Dan Bryant by Paul Carter, The Register Guard, used by permission.