Colin and I were part of the transformative East African delegation journey, as I imagine you have gathered from stories and pictures, while our kids stayed in San Diego with their grandparents. At the beginning of July we left for a sabbatical journey as a family of four, beginning in the Baltimore / Washington D.C. area. While Colin served as a deputy at the General Convention, the kids and I went to stay with a dear friend of mine from high school in Berlin, Germany. After Convention, Colin re-joined us and we had a few days as a family of four before we set out on the "marriage renewal" portion of our sabbatical, traveling just the two of us by car for one week from Barcelona to Rome...while Pete and Penny (Colin's parents) watched the kids again for us (they really win the grandparents of the year award)!
Once we were all reunited in Rome, we did some sightseeing there and in France (see picture from the little village of La Brede) before Colin returned home to San Diego with Robin and Jem so they could start school. All of this family travel has been paid for by the once-in-a-lifetime clergy renewal grant I received from the Lilly Foundation, and we are so grateful for both the funds and for all of YOUR generosity of time and spirit in making it possible.
Now, I am writing to you from an ecumenical women`s monastery called "Grandchamp" in Switzerland, where I get to stay for 3 weeks for free as a work-prayer volunteer. (You can check it out online here.) I join in the community`s rhythm of prayer in French four times a day, and share in the work of the community, like cooking and cleaning, 24 hours per week. All of the meals but two each week are shared in silence, so I have a lot of time to think of all the lovely people I am missing back in San Diego, and enter a deeper stillness. I am reading and learning and hope to be truly spiritually refreshed by the time I return to my family, and to you! When I return to San Diego, Colin will take his own time of retreat with God, and then we will see you all again on October 2. You may see Jem and Robin before then, because we don`t want them to miss the start of our children`s formation program year.
I am so curious about all you have been experiencing in your own "renewal Sundays," and look forward to our time of reunion. In the meantime, both Colin and I continue to hold you in our hearts, minds, and prayers.
With Christ`s love, always, (Mtr.) Laurel and (Fr.) Colin