Dear Hyde Park Family,

Happy Independence Day! I hope this day brings you moments of celebration, connection with friends and family, and gratitude for the freedom to live into your God-given potential. Let us remember that our truest and most enduring freedom is that which comes from Jesus alone, for “it is for freedom that Christ set us free.” (Galatians 5:1)

I also want to offer you this special Midweek Message to share with you an important message regarding members of our clergy team.


In his book Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in our Busy Lives, Wayne Mueller talks about the benefits of honoring the biblical command to observe Sabbath rest:

“Sabbath is more than the absence of work; it is not just a day off, when we catch up on television or errands. It is the presence of something that arises when we consecrate a period of time to listen to what is most deeply beautiful, nourishing, or true. It is time consecrated with our attention, our mindfulness, honoring those quiet forces of grace or spirit that sustain and heal us.”

Many of the commandments of God are difficult to keep, but Sabbath keeping may be the easiest to overlook, particularly for those called to church ministry.

Many clergy suffer from emotional burnout, workaholism and depression, likely due in part to a reluctance to regularly observe a focused time of spiritual renewal. This article from the Sojourners website provides additional insight.

To address this pervasive problem, the United Methodist Book of Discipline encourages clergy to have several weeks of spiritual growth and renewal every four years. (Paragraph 351.2) Historically, clergy at Hyde Park have not observed this provision in the discipline, despite working long hours every week, season after season.


I think you would agree that among the many blessings of this church is the amazing dedication and talents of ministers Sally Campbell-Evans, Vicki Walker, Justin LaRosa, and Debbie Casanzio. Over the past several months, the Staff-Parish Relations Committee has encouraged and approved each of them to observe the time of renewal that the Discipline provides. It offers the following statement:

“The Staff-Parish Relations Committee strongly believes in healthy, rested and vital clergy. Clergy burnout is a well-documented phenomenon, and this Committee wants our clergy to have renewal leaves that provide rest and growth.”

So, here is the general time frame for those four clergy:

  • Vicki Walker: July 21 to Aug. 31, 2019
  • Sally Campbell-Evans: Sept. 25 to Nov. 5, 2019
  • Justin LaRosa: Summer 2020
  • Debbie Casanzio: Fall 2020

You can pray for each of them, that this will be a holy and sacred time, that the Holy Spirit might provide them with spiritual, emotional and physical rejuvenation for their ongoing work among us.

And as you negotiate the busyness of your life, remember to observe the Sabbath yourself. Find time to disconnect from your daily pressures and create a way for you to “listen to what is most deeply beautiful, nourishing, or true.”

Grace and Peace,


The Rev. Magrey deVega
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park United Methodist

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