Michael Anthony Howard, Association Minister of Faith in Action
June 27, 2024

For the past five years, I have been observing and supporting your ministries from the sidelines. So many things have happened since I came to Ohio, and we have all grown and changed. The world around us continues to transform, influencing who we are and who we become. If we don’t take the time for rest and retreat, for deep prayer and listening, we risk losing our ability to discern if those changes are shaping us into the people we aspire to be. It can make us feel like we have little control over the changes in our lives.

Intentional rest allows us time apart for reorientation so that we can be more intentional about the direction of our lives.

With this in mind, I am writing to inform you that I will be on sabbatical from July 1st to October 1st. This period will be a precious opportunity for me to rest, reflect, and rejuvenate, and I am deeply grateful for your support in making this possible.

During my sabbatical, I will focus on three main areas that are close to my heart:

Firstly, my deep love of place. I plan to visit various locations that rejuvenate me, places that are well-cared for and cherished by their communities. This will also be an opportunity to reconnect with people who share my passions for these special places, individuals I haven’t connected with for a long time. My intention is to listen deeply to the stories of these places and the people who nurture them, gaining new insights and inspirations that I can bring back to our community.

Secondly, I am excited to spend quality time with my daughter, Joey. Together, we will explore new places and experience them through her eyes. This will be a wonderful chance for us to bond and for me to listen to her perspectives, understanding the world from her fresh viewpoint.

Lastly, I will focus on rest and personal rejuvenation. I plan to spend time in comfortable places where I can concentrate on my own spiritual journey without the distractions of daily responsibilities. This period will allow me to listen to my inner self, recharge, and return with a renewed spirit to serve our community.

Over the past few months, I have been meditating on and emphasizing the importance of “listening.” This sabbatical will provide a dedicated time for me to practice this concept more deeply, both in my personal reflections and in my interactions with others.

While I am away, you can be sure that the Association will continue to provide excellent leadership and support. Please reach out to our office with any needs or concerns during this period.

I look forward to sharing my experiences and the insights I gain when I return. Thank you for your understanding and support.