TRINITY GRACE CHURCH EAST VILLAGE NEWS
Dear Trinity Grace East Village Friends, Family and Partners,
As many of you know, our family has been given the generous opportunity to experience an extended sabbath this summer (July 1-August 26th). This sabbath has two main phases as well as personal family vacation time, read more below for additional details about the specifics of what we'll be up to.
This sabbath is intended to be both preventative and restorative. For us the hardest part will be the relational disconnection from you, our church community. But we sincerely believe that in order for us to continue to lead well for decades to come, from a place of overflow and not scarcity, taking a creative, extended break for rest, renewal and reflection is critical.
While Rebecca and I will disconnect from varying degrees of leadership during this period of time, our church will continue to gather weekly, worship together, build relationships in community as well as serve our neighbors in practical ways. Our leadership team has given their full blessing on this plan and we are humbled by their generous support. You can read the full letter we shared with the Covenant Community below. Rest assured that we are more committed than ever to New York City and seeing the Gospel continue to be good news to those who live, work and play here.
If you have questions please either email them to Guy or starting August 1st, here.
We are really grateful for this opportunity to rest and be renewed and we’re excited for all God will do in the coming season!
Guy & Rebecca Wasko
FULL COVENANT COMMUNITY LETTER
Dear Covenant Community,
This April we celebrated seven exhilarating years as a church. If you go back to the first prayer meetings we held in our apartment, that number is actually closer to nine years! Over this time we’ve had front row seats as we’ve not only watched but also participated in seeing more of the Kingdom of God come to New York as it is in heaven. While it’s not always been easy or played out the way we had hoped, God has been faithful, present and powerful. From the beginning, we have longed to faithfully lead by example, serving, sacrificing and loving well. We are especially thankful that God called us to NYC and that He has sustained us and TGC East Village over the years!
The vision of our church has always been to join God in the renewal of all things. Throughout scripture we observe the importance of seasons, rhythms and sabbath rest. The gospel is good news because salvation is something we can’t earn or do on our own - Jesus did all the work on our behalf! Frequently in the gospels we see Jesus taking regular, extended breaks from ministry, even when things are going really well, and retreat to pray and rest. As we join God in the renewal of all things, we do well to pay attention to this rhythm of rest and sabbath. No doubt the hustle and grind of life and work in NYC can lead to exhaustion and burnout. Regular sabbath (weekly days off) and extended periods of rest and renewal are integral to the Christian way of life - exceptionally so in this city we all call home.
In addition to the mandate to rest regularly in our normal rhythms, there are seasons in life where an extended break is critical. As you know, early in 2017, the leadership of Trinity Grace Church made the decision to dissolve as an entity and release each parish to become their own independent congregation. This decision came as a shock to us all and while we have successfully navigated this transition and continue to gather and serve as a church in the East Village, it’s taken a toll on us (Guy & Rebecca) and our family. In addition to the already challenging season that we were in as a church (staff transitions, the tragic loss of Mark Lewis, several moves, etc), this organizational and relational transition has added additional stress and pressure. Together, as a leadership team, we have discerned that this is one of those seasons for an extended time of rest, recalibration and renewal. We love living and serving in the LES and want to continue to thrive in life and ministry for decades to come. I’m honored that our leadership team has given their full support to this vitally important extended season of rest and renewal.
This short season of rest is not a full sabbatical though. While I qualified for a full sabbatical in the summer of 2016, the decision was made at the time not to take advantage of it (both for personal reasons and because it wasn’t best for the church at the time; these factors are still true by the way). While not a sabbatical, this is also more than a vacation. So we’re calling this a summer sabbath. During this season we will be engaging in a handful of experiences as well as vacation, in addition to unplugging from our regular ministry responsibilities.
In many ways we regret that the we feel so tired and stretched and that we so desperately need this break. But we are confident that this summer sabbath will be fruitful for both us and our church - and everyone will be healthier, rested and renewed for an impactful fall ministry season.
So what does this sabbath actually look like? Beginning July 1st, we will be taking Sunday’s off. For the month of July, I, Guy, will still work during the week in my role as Lead Pastor, performing all regular functions of my job. Also in July, I will participate in a pastors retreat in Montana hosted by the Refuge Foundation. Then, starting August 1st, both Rebecca and I will take a complete break from all regular functions connected to our roles and will also enjoy our normal summer family vacation in Florida (yes, for some reason we love vacationing in Florida during the hottest month of the year). We will be back and fully re-connected to our roles August 27th and worshipping again with you on Sunday’s starting September 2nd.
We are both diligently working to finalize plans and put the right details in place for July and August. Our very own Brian Moll will be covering the majority of the preaching schedule and Allison Moll, along with several other familiar faces, will be covering the worship elements of our weekend gatherings, along with our faithful staff and volunteer teams.
This is an exciting opportunity for both our church and our family. During this season we expect that Trinity Grace Church East Village will not only be in great hands but also continue to steward our mission and momentum forward into an incredibly powerful fall 2018 ministry season! Should you have questions or like help processing any of this, please do not hesitate to reach out.
Guy & Rebecca Wasko,