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At Bethany, one of our greatest desires is for people to experience a compelling, life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ. While there is a deeply personal element to our faith, we also experience tremendous growth and revelation through our connection with the local church body. We hope Bethany will become that place of connection for you—a place you can be known, use your gifts to serve or lead, and share Christ with your local community.

It can be difficult to understand and navigate the many ways you can get involved in a church, and that's why joining a community or neighborhood group, or getting involved in any one of Bethany Northeast's age- or activity-based ministries, is so important to grow your relationships with God, with others, and with our community at large. Whether you've been a part of Bethany for ten years or ten minutes, we encourage you to take the next step and explore the many ways to connect at Bethany Northeast.

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An Update from Pastor Jack Brace

Hear from Jack on his upcoming sabbatical

Dear Friends,

Earlier this Summer as I traveled around Ireland with my family, I was reminded that in some languages, there are words for goodbye that are also a promise of a future 'hello." In these cultures, parting or leave-taking doesn't carry the same finality as it does in ours. Instead, leave-taking is infused with a sense of hope, and anticipatory return.

In the Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) areas of Ireland, the word for 'goodbye' is really an expression of blessing. People will say slán leat (slahn lyat) - "health with you" - to the person who is leaving. Likewise, the one leaving might say slán agat (slahn AG-ut) - "have health" - to the person staying behind.

It is in this spirit of blessing that I wanted to share with you that the time has come for me to say "slán leat." Which is to say, on September 26th, 2022, I will be taking sabbatical leave from my role as Bethany Northeast's Lead Pastor.

Sabbaticals at Bethany are granted to pastors and directors in their seventh year of full-time service as a means of revitalizing body, mind, and soul and enhancing ministry and mission. My sabbatical eligibility came up in February of 2020, and of course, we all know how that year turned out. Since then, and even more clearly as I traveled this summer and spent time in reflection and prayer, I began to sense a deep need for sabbatical.

I've been serving in the local church for the past 17 years and in full-time ministry for over 20 years, all without a pause or break to rest, reflect and be renewed. It is time.

As I enter this season of rest, I am hopeful for how God will work in my life and my family's life. I am also hopeful for how God will work in your lives and the life of our community. I will miss you during this coming season, but I believe God is on the move. God continues to knit us together as a beloved community. God is shaping us and transforming our lives, individually and corporately. God is doing so much in and through Bethany Northeast!

And so may this coming season be one in which you 'have health' (slán agat)!

You are invited to join our Sunday gathering on September 25th (either in-person or online) where we'll take a few moments in worship to share in a time of blessing, both for me as I begin this sabbatical journey and for all of us as we enter into this next season. I hope you can join us.

In the meantime, please don't hesitate to reach out if you have questions or just want to connect.

In Christ's Service Together,

Jack Brace
Lead Pastor, Bethany Northeast