Pastor takes renewal leave with Lilly Endowment Grant


By Chris Bavender

St. Francis In-The-Fields Episcopal Church has been awarded a $50,000 grant for the 2018 Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Program for Indiana Congregations. The grant will allow Senior Pastor and Rector Rev. C. Davies Reed to participate in a 3 1/2-month “renewal leave.”

“Rejuvenation is the purpose of the renewal leave. There is an interesting juxtaposition of preparing for a leave and taking a leave,” Reed said. “Once you have all the details settled, then you can begin to breathe deeply and relax. That breath, which in Hebrew is called Ruach, is the breath of the Spirit. Breathing in that breath of the Spirit for a few months will fill you again with joy and wonder in all things and the desire to pick up one’s call with a renewed sense of call and dedication.”

Reed said, like many others, he’s in a profession which demands availability to respond to those in his charge 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“This call is extraordinarily rewarding and humbling because we’re invited into some of life’s most intimate moments from birth to death. With no breaks and over some number of years, this can take a toll on one’s energy and enthusiasm for ministry,” he said. “Because of this, it’s appropriate that clergy have a time to step away from the day-to-day operations of a congregation to recharge.”

Reed’s sabbatical will be a series of pilgrimages framed by four distinct periods. The first period will be to dramatically change the rhythm of his day, which he plans to do by changing time zones and spending three weeks in China, where he will visit at least nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites (landmarks or areas selected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization as having cultural, historical, scientific or other form of significance).

The second portion will be spent visiting the Iona Community in Scotland. The third phase involves continuing to explore UNESCO World Heritage sites in Scotland.

“Finally, as we begin to make the transition back to the United States, we will spend a few weeks on vacation with our grandchildren and their parents. This is an annual treat, and this year we will have some great stories to tell,” Reed said. “I can only begin to imagine how all of that will positively impact my relationship with my congregation at St. Francis in the Fields Episcopal Church.”

During Reed’s time away, members of the St. Francis congregation will take their own pilgrimages to faith heritage sites around Indiana, including the Roofless Church in New Harmony.

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