To Plainwell First United Methodist Church Family:

In Mark, chapter 6, it mentions several times that during his ministry, Jesus went off to a quiet place for physical and spiritual rest. The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church also provides for clergy to take time during their ministry for continuing education and spiritual growth. The Discipline calls these opportunities for pastoral renewal “professional formation leaves” and stipulates that “such leaves shall not be considered as part of the ministers’ vacations”.

As a result of the 2018 Pastor Assessment Process for our Pastor, Kathy Brown and in consultation with Reverend Dwayne Bagley, Greater Southwest District Superintendent, the Staff Parish Relations Committee, as well as the Church Council and Vision Team agree that Kathy should take a professional formation / spiritual renewal leave in 2019.

The Book of Discipline states that a clergy member’s continuing education and spiritual growth program shall include professional formation leaves of at least 1 week per year and may include at least 1 month every 4 years. A clergy member may also request a professional formation / spiritual renewal leave of 6 months, while continuing to hold an appointment in the local church.

The last time Kathy took a professional formation leave of more than a week in a year was three weeks in 2009. Kathy’s renewal leave for 2019 will be 6 weeks. When reviewing major events of the busy church calendar for 2019, January 1 thru February 12, emerged as the most suitable time for Kathy’s time away.

Pastor Kathy has chosen to use this time to focus on growing the church in the age of accelerating technology and declining church attendance. She will be reading books, investigating ways churches can use live streaming, as well as speaking with a pastor who has started a new church this month. Staff Parish Relations Committee is excited to see what Pastor Kathy learns and how this will benefit the church in years to come.

Please join Staff Parish Relations Committee, Vision Team and the Church Council in praying for Kathy during this restorative time, as she seeks further spiritual growth and enlightenment.

In Christ’s Love,

Darcia Artz

Staff Parish Relations Committee, Chairperson