I got a feeling...

T minus 89 days and counting!  The sabbatical clock has begun to tick LOUDLY in our home as the dream of a lifetime starts to become a reality.  Our housing during the US jazz liturgy study portion of the trip is in place; our Montreal residency is secure, too. By Monday we will have made arrangements for an upright bass/purchase with one of the finest luthiers in Montreal (check them out @ http://www.luthiersaintmichel.com/#). Then it is just a matter of working out the intricacies of international health care concerns, what phone service we will use in Montreal and nailing down our car rental for May.

For those who are most interested, here's a quick overview of the sabbatical. Between May 1 and 20th we will be travelling and checking out three US jazz liturgy centers. 

+ Week One is grounded in Greenwich Village and the ministries of St. Peter's
Lutheran Church at 619 Lexington Avenue, NYC.  This place has long intrigued me for two reasons:  First, in 1970 they sold their midtown property to Citibank for $9 million with the provision that a new sanctuary would be constructed next door to the new high rise office building. The new worship space was consecrated in 1977 giving the congregation the resources and the flexibility to expand their ministries of healing, justice and creative liturgical arts. The second reason is that St. Peter's intentionally chose to remain an urban congregation in the late 60's when other churches were closing or fleeing to the suburbs. The vision and dedication of Pastor John Garcia Genzel empowered St. Peter's to reach out to the jazz community, too. For so many reasons we want to spend time soaking up their music, their story and their worship. (For more on St. Peter's go to: http://www.saintpeters.org/)

+ Week Two takes us to the Scaritt-Bennet Center in Nashville, TN. My colleague in ministry and the arts, Carlton Maaia II, continues to resource the jazz music for the Center's "Vespers and All That Jazz" even while he serves as our Director of Music. A team from our congregation visited SB two years ago and we continue to seek ways of nurturing connections between Pittsfield and Nashville. Their jazz liturgy has been described like this: Vespers & All That Jazz is a worship experience using words and music from a variety of sources to encounter the Sacred. We understand jazz to be a process of making music; music which shapes the service and helps us experience the interruptive Spirit of God in ourselves and others. The style is experiential. Open minds, open hearts, and open ears are essential. Justice, compassion, peace and wonder are hoped-for responses.Vespers & All That Jazz is a non-membership community worship service for all ages. The services are informal and last approximately 45 minutes. (For more on Vespers and All That Jazz go to: http://www.scarrittbennett.org/event/vespers-all-that-jazz-15/)
+ Week Three leads us to Pittsburgh, PA and the work of Mary Lou Williams.  We don't have any solid contacts here so we'll be in an even more experimental mode search out the resources at the Carnegie Library and the University of Pittsburgh (which just happens to be my late father's alma mater.) I was born in this tough town, too so there is a bit of pilgrimage involved in this return. What's more, in addition to learning more about Ms. Williams - one of the first women jazz composers - we'll be able to visit with my sister Laura who is not far away.

After a short return to Pittsfield, with time set aside for packing and other goodbyes (including getting Lucie back from our friends) it is off to Montreal for the last week of May and all of June, July and August. We will wander a bit in the Eastern Townships on our way to our summer residency - and do something comparable on the way home - but the heart of this sabbatical is grounded in rest, renewal and refreshment in a quiet Francophone neighborhood in the Plateau area of Quebecois, Montreal.  My hope is that after setting up our new home slowly and with a sense of adventure, I'll make a connection with one of two congregations in this grand city:  St. James United Church of Canada and/or St. James the Apostle Anglican Church. (who could have guessed, yes?) 

In addition to both the Ottawa and Montreal Jazz Festivals - and a host of other fascinating street fair events - our residency will be about slowing down, rest, wandering as the Spirit leads us and practicing jazz bass. Our kids will join us for a bit - and our friends from Ontario, too - but mostly this will be retreat time for Dianne, Lucie and myself.  We hope to do some composing together and she will be doing her own creative photography project, too. We will spend lots of time in the parks and cafes, a whole lot of time listening and relearning French and a good deal of time slowly exploring places that capture our eye. At the end of August, we'll meander back to the US after a week in a small, rural cabin in the Eastern Townships - and prepare to get back in the groove.

My clergy friends - and especially their spouses - have said "Re-entry is a bitch." I know they are right. But re-entry talk is a life time away. Right now we are moving into anticipation mode. 
Alors laissez nos cœurs se réjouissent que nous nous préparons à entrer dans la fête de repos, la musique et le renouvellement! (Dig this - the guy back in Pentangle days who first turned me on to the upright bass...)


Peter said…
Un de tes amis ontariens dit a toi, Bien sur, mon gars!
RJ said…
Cela rend mon coeur heureux

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