Beloved community, my twice-postponed sabbatical is fast approaching. As I explore the roots of my personal identity and the African roots of Christianity, you will dive deep into the question of identity and belonging back home at UCUCC. My sabbatical theme “I Am Because We Are: a Journey Towards Belonging,” is echoed in our UCUCC fall worship theme of Ubuntu. This shared exploration, in two different continents, will keep us connected to each other. Benjamin and I appreciate your prayers! For those who want a more detailed look at our travels, here is our itinerary:
Sept 7 –17: Traveling by air from Seattle to Kisumu, Kenya
We’ll have a layover in Amsterdam and an overnight in Nairobi before we find ourselves in a cottage in Kisumu, Kenya; the closest city to Rabuor Village. Over the next week we’ll meet up with Loyce in Rabuor, meeting her family and learning first-hand about all the work going on with Mwanzo.
Sept 17—22: Back to Nairobi and a Safari
We’ll be in Kenya during the time of the great migration so we will spend 3 days and 2 nights at the Masai Mara Reserve seeing everything we can. Then we’ll be back in Nairobi to prepare for the official start of sabbatical time! From September 22nd onward we will have no church contact until January 10th, 2023.
Sept 22—Oct 6: Malawi
In Malawi we will spend our time visiting with Amy’s friend Masankho’s family. Masankho will be traveling doing peacemaking work but his family will host us and we will have a chance to visit the village where he grew up (Tukombo Village in northern Malawi). I will especially be enjoying the night sky with different constellations and little to no light pollution.
Oct 6—Oct 22: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Here we stay with a local family-hosted AirBnB and visit with Amy’s birth family. We explore one of the few modern cities developed with little to no European influence. Take a listen to this interview to hear more about this, or check out the whole series from “To The Best of Our Knowledge” called “Ideas from Africa” that can be found here.
Oct 22—Oct 29: Alexandria, Egypt
We’ll be picked up from Cairo and driven to Alexandria, Egypt. Here we’ll explore the local culture and the ancient history. On our way back to Cairo we’ll visit the Coptic Monasteries in Wadi El-Natrum.
Oct 29-Nov 11: Cairo and Beyond…
These two weeks we’ll be in the hands of a tour company seeing the National Museum, the Great Pyramids, a cruise on the Nile with time to see Abu Simbel, a couple days in Hurghada, snorkeling in the Red Sea, and a day back in Cairo exploring the Pharaonic Village.
Nov 11—19: Rome, Italy
We’ll spend this week exploring Rome (we’ll tell the Pope you all said hello!) and eating pasta and gelato. I will be noticing and connecting Rome and Italy’s deep connections with Christianity in Ethiopia and Egypt; our shared Christian roots.
Nov 19—Dec 6: Transatlantic Cruise
We begin the long and slow journey back to Seattle, with time to reflect and internalize our experiences. In order to notice the distance we will abstain from air travel from this point forward. Traveling to Africa with two African American boys (Benjamin and his friend), and then taking them home on a transatlantic boat journey is a poignant and intentional choice.
Dec 6—15: New York to Seattle
We’ll continue the long, slow journey back to Seattle by sleeper car on Amtrak, watching this country roll by from one coast to another.
Dec 15—Jan 10: Seattle Home
We’ll spend this last month resting and reflecting and see you all soon! You’ll likely see Benjamin at church but my first Sunday back will be January 15th.