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Sabbatical, 2004
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Retirement Begins



November 5, 2005

Asign of the times: When I was on the University campus recently, walking over to the main library, a girl in a great hurry passed me, heading in the same direction.  Her cellphone rang.  “Hello?” she said, putting the device to her ear, not breaking stride, “Where am I?  Going over to the Dafoe library.  Can you believe it, this is the only thing I couldn’t do online for this assignment!?  I have to find an actual book on an actual shelf in an actual library...!”

The new generation... wirelessly connected to friends and associates wherever they are, doing so much research online that a shelf full of books seems to them an archaism.

For myself I love libraries, and my heart lifts with pleasure when, deep in the stacks I pull down an antique volume and find just the piece of information I was seeking!  Getting used to this new life of retirement I have, in the past five weeks, been given brand new library cards to the University of Toronto library system and to that of the University of Manitoba.  When the young student walked by me with her very modern concerns, I was happily on my way to find some resources about 16th Century England.  Once more I am at work on my book.

I’ve not been able to do much, mind you, because, just as it has been for many another retiree I have known, the days are rushing by, and at times I feel busier than I was when gainfully employed!

I gave a major lecture/presentation on Islam at Faith Horizons, the biennial educational conference for Anglicans in the Winnipeg region, and gave another lecture/presentation at an individual parish on the document known as The Windsor Report (an international Anglican report arising out of the controversy over same-sex relationships).  As well, I filled in for an absent Rector one Sunday, and preached at the All Saints’ day observance in another parish.  Finally, I am the guest “Consecration Sunday” preacher at four different parishes this fall (a process which also involves me in at least four additional meetings at each of these congregations).

At Christmas, Heather and I will travel out to B.C. to see my oldest son, Chris, and his wife and children.  A parish priest just does not take Christmas “off,” so this will be the first time in forty years that I can travel to visit family on this greatest of all family holidays.

In the new year, I will return to parish life, at least temporarily.  I have been asked to fill in at St. Luke’s, Winnipeg, during the sabbatical of their Rector.  Once more, at least for a period of eleven weeks, I will be preparing Sunday sermons and attending parish board meetings (there is a rumour that I will also be required to act in a farce being put on in February!  Hmmm.)

So, life is full, and very pleasant.

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