Our Rector’s Sabbatical

April 23 - September 4

Rev. Michele Morgan, 12th Rector of St Mark’s, began the first sabbatical of her career on Saturday, April 23, 2022, at the conclusion of a festive send-off in the St. Mark’s courtyard, highlighted by a vast array of foods brought by parishioners and featuring—at Michele’s request—root beer floats! She will return to us in late August and to the pulpit on Sunday, September 4.

In Michele’s absence, responsibility for the parish is delegated by church canons to the Senior Warden, Linell Grundman. Clerical responsibilities are assigned to Rev. Christopher Phillips, our Assistant Rector, and Rev. Patricia Catalano, our Liturgy and Pastoral Associate.

The theme for the sabbatical, Homecoming, has multiple dimensions to it. For Michele, it reflects her plan to reconnect with Haida Gwaii, the heartland of the Haida Nation, her mother’s homeland in Canada, and with members of her family. For St. Mark’s, it expresses our longing for a return to pre-COVID connection with one another in full communion. For our shared longing, it promises Michele’s return to and reconnection with us and us with her.

The Sabbatical Planning Team has supported Michele, Linell, Chris, Patricia, the Vestry, and other parish leaders in preparing for the sabbatical. They are Charmian Crawford, Nancy Lucas, John-Anthony Meza, and co-chairs Louise Walsh and Kenn Allen. In the course of their work, the team interviewed more than 30 parish leaders to identify questions and areas of concern about the impact of Michele’s sabbatical on specific programs and operations.

Key Dates and Events during the Sabbatical Period

Sunday, April 16: Liturgical commissioning of the sabbatical, Michele, and the lay and clergy leadership

Saturday, April 23: Send-off courtyard festivities to launch the sabbatical

Sunday, May 22: Banner Sunday to celebrate the end of the Christian Education and Sunday School “year”

Sunday, July 31: Crab Sunday with one service at 10 a.m. followed by the annual crab (and chicken) feast and installation of the newly chosen Crab of the Year

Sunday, September 4: One service at 10 a.m. Michele returns to the pulpit. A gala “welcome home” lunch will follow the service.

Sunday, September 11: One service at 10 a.m. followed by the annual parish picnic, which launches the new program year.

Guest Preachers

In keeping with the practice established during the sabbatical of Rev. Paul Abernathy, our 11th Rector, we have invited special guests to preach on select Sundays. We urge everyone to take advantage of these “new voices.”  They are:

May 8:  Loretta Veney, long-time member of St Mark’s, inspirational speaker and trainer in the areas of dementia, caregiving, and aging and a trained Lego Serious Play (LSP) facilitator, focusing on helping organizations improve teamwork and productivity

May 29: Rev. Joe Hubbard, Vicar at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Mission in Bluff, Utah, in the Episcopal Church in Navajoland

June 12: Rev. Kelly Brown Douglas, Canon Theologian at the Washington National Cathedral and Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary in New York City

June 26: Bishop V. Eugene Robinson, retired Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire; now serving as bishop-in-residence at St. Thomas Dupont Circle

July 3: Caitlin Fraser, member of St. Mark’s and our choir; now a Postulant for Holy Orders at the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas

July 10: Rabbi Hannah Spiro, Rabbi of Hill Havurah here on Capitol Hill and a songwriter. “My music is lyrical, folky, and poppy, and loves being sung in synagogues, coffeehouses, and cars.”

July 17: Imam Talib M. Shareef, President and Imam of the historic Nation’s Mosque, Masjid Muhammad, here in Washington

July 31: Rev. Jim Steen, former Interim Rector at St. Mark’s, who went on to a distinguished career as a rector and diocesan administrator in the Diocese of Chicago

August 28: Linell Grundman, Senior Warden of St, Mark’s

Rev. Chris Phillips or Rev. Patricia Catalano will be in the pulpit the remaining Sundays. Chris will be on vacation June 12 and September 4, and Patricia from July 5 to 17.