From Nayiri Karjian, Association General Minister
May 18, 2023

On Pentecost Sunday, May 28, I begin my Sabbatical leave for 3 months! I am deeply grateful.

The concept of Sabbath first appears in Genesis 2, the second story of creation, when God rests on the seventh day after “completing” the creation of heavens and the earth. Delving deeper into history, we discover that Sabbath originally was not associated with a day of the week, but with the monthly celebration of the new moon. The festival was about a change of pace, withdrawal and rest. Eventually adapted by the Hebrews, it turned into a weekly observance and to a sign of their identity. The verb Sabbath in Hebrew means to rest.

Two things need to happen on the Sabbath: 1. People must rest from work. 2. The earth and all living beings need to take a break – locals and aliens, servants and bosses, the privileged and unprivileged. Sabbath is not only about personal rest, but also about social and environmental rest, about social and eco-justice.

This need for a break, for rest, for a change of pace, rhythm and flow, as well as time to think of something else besides the “troubles of the day,” is real for us humans, and for all creation. I am especially and keenly aware of this need as we live through what we believe is the REFORMATION, RESHAPING, the REBIRTH of the church. The Church is experiencing what many name as crisis. There is much angst, anxiety, sadness and loss. The Church is dying and rising as we live. Something different and new is happening and it feels like a crisis.

The word crisis means, a decisive point, a turning point, a point at which change must come, for better or worse. By definition, crisis feels urgent, pressing, immediate, an emergency that requires our immediate attention. We have been living with this emergency crisis for a while. And it is exhausting.

So, yes. I am exhausted and I know you are as well. Daily, I receive calls from our local congregations in the midst of what they experience as crisis. The needs seem to be immediate and urgent. The issues pressing.

So, yes. I am grateful, deeply and truly grateful for the gift of this Sabbatical. I am grateful to you, our whole Association, to our Council, Committee on Ministry and others who worked ahead so that during the summer the workload at the Association will be light. Thank you!

Our Association’s office will remain open and the ministry will continue. If you need the Association, please call or email the office, Kellie Ramirez, our Information Management and Media staff at 330-940-2220 x100 or

We are blessed with gifted and capable staff and leadership – Our Committee on Ministry, our Association Council, our committees can handle the ministry especially during the summer months. 

My suggestion is – whatever your Association need, please connect with Kellie Ramirez first. She will guide you to the right person and resource. 

I do pray and hope that you, too, will seek some Sabbath moments this summer. Find some time for rest, change of pace, fun and joy, solitude and community, connecting with the Spirit…and enjoy the moment, the day, the gift.

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