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  • Writer's pictureKyle Crider

Relax. Refresh. Renew.

Or, What We Did on Our Beach Sabbatical

According to Wikipedia, "The Sabbath is observed in Judaism and Sabbatarian forms of Christianity, such as many Protestant and Eastern denominations. Observances similar to or descended from the Sabbath also exist in other religions. The term may be generally used to describe similar weekly observances in other religions."

Definition of Sabbath (from Merriam-Webster)

1a: the seventh day of the week observed from Friday evening to Saturday evening as a day of rest and worship by Jews and some Christians

b: Sunday observed among Christians as a day of rest and worship

2: a time of rest

The History of Sabbatical and Sabbath: Take a Break

We tend to think of sabbatical in academic terms, as a school year free from teaching duties that can be devoted to research, travel, and writing. Traditionally, this occurs every seventh year. Because of this scholarly context, we may easily miss what is hiding in plain sight: that sabbatical is related to Sabbath, which refers to the Biblical day of rest, or the seventh day. We trace the origins of both sabbatical and Sabbath to the Greek word sabbaton. Sabbaton itself traces to the Hebrew word shabbāth, meaning “rest.”

Earlier this week, the staff of Alabama Interfaith Power & Light took a sabbatical. Executive Director Rev. Michael Malcom, Steering Committee member Turetha Malcom, Audio and Visual Coordinator Micah Malcom, Social Media Coordinator Maresha Malcom, Program and Policy Director Kyle Crider (me), and Outreach Coordinator Abigail Franks were all in attendance. One goal of this retreat was to update our organizational strategic plan. But another, equally important goal was sabbatical/sabbath.

The image above is from a decoration on the den/meeting room of our "airbnb" at Gulf Shores/Ft. Morgan. How appropriate! Relax. Take a breath... and a break. Refresh. Engage in a mental, physical, and spiritual cleansing. Renew. Let's purpose this time to reinvent and grow ourselves and our organization.

If COVID-19 has shown strategic planners something, it is, that life is what happens while you are making your plans. We don't know what we don't know... and those unknown unkowns can really bite us in the tush. But that doesn't mean we stop planning. We just make sure to build resilience into our plans, so that we can bend, but not break, with whatever life throws at us.

ALIPL staff emerged relaxed, refreshed, and renewed form our strategic planning retreat/sabbatical (many thanks, Rev!). Stay tuned for great things from ALIPL. We can't wait to share our strategic plan with you. And we are pumped!



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