Dear ZPC Family,
The Shelton Family, all 6 of us, recently returned from a trip out West during my sabbatical. We visited some Lewis and Clark sites in North Dakota and Montana, then had some fun in Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado. I enjoyed seeing the historical sites where Lewis and Clark traveled, such as their winter quarters in Mandan, North Dakota, and where they portaged their canoes at Great Falls, Montana.
Our kids enjoyed seeing all the wildlife in Glacier, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton National Parks. We had lots of sightings of black bears, elk, moose, antelope, bison, bald eagles, and mountain goats. We missed seeing a bull moose with antlers - but oh, well. Claire and I enjoyed quiet moments reading and looking at the Tetons behind Jackson Lake Lodge and at Colter Bay. Our kids enjoyed the rodeo, rafting the Snake River, and hiking.
Part of the joy of being on sabbatical is that I lost track of what day it was several times - relaxing! But it wasn't all relaxing. Some days we tried to do too much - and it was exhausting. One of the things we learned is that with 6 people, there are 6 different opinions on where to eat, what to do, where to go. We learned that we had to negotiate on what to see and do, and sometimes compromise what I might want to do for the good of the family. Part of being a family is give and take, and learning to look out for others. I was reminded that is something we must remember as a church family - to look out for the other person and to care for them - at times setting aside what I might want personally for the good of the family - even for those not in our church family.
Now that our kids are heading back to school, I'm doing some reflecting and reading. I'm reading Tod Bolsinger's book on Lewis and Clark and church leadership called Canoeing the Mountains. I'm also reading two good books on resting, being quiet and being present with God and others. Good lessons for me in all these books. I also made a two day visit to Lincoln's hometown of Springfield, Illinois, and learned more about the great man. I've learned that Lewis, Clark, and Lincoln were all very human as well as heroic. They had flaws and made mistakes, but they stepped out with courage to take on incredible challenges. I'll be sharing what I've learned in a class when I return, including all the great things I learned while traveling and studying in Israel. I'll tell some stories in worship this fall, too.
Another thing I've reflected on recently is church. We've worshipped at different churches and truly enjoyed them all. God was present in all those churches and in warm welcomes we received. But I realize that I miss worshipping with you all - and your warm love to me and my family. So, while I'm still enjoying the time away, I look forward to seeing you all again in September!
God bless, Scott
Editor's note: Rev. Scott Shelton is the associate pastor for discipleship at ZPC. He has been on Sabbatical since May 15 and will return to us on September 15.