Ireland Part Three

Venue-Katie’s Cottage, Galway

Ready for storytelling

Joy and I with “Moth and Butterfly” founder and host Orla McGovern

At the Cliffs of Moher

View of Aran Islands and Connemara from the Cliffs of Moher

Attended “Trad on the Prom” in Salt Hill.

Part of the Galway International Arts Festival (GIAF)

Three Oscar Wilde stories woven together into one play (GIAF)

In the big tent at GIAF. RTE National Symphony John Williams tribute concert

Worshiped at St. Mary’s Cathedral (Church of Ireland, Anglican)

Great exhibit at Limerick’s Hunt Museum on a rainy Sunday afternoon

Wonderful morning with staff at Ireland’s Narrative 4

More storytelling through visual arts, this time at the Limerick City Art Gallery

Limerick City Art Gallery

View from atop King John’s Castle (begun in 1212)

King John’s Castle and bridge over the Shannon River

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Ireland Part Two

Sheep block the Western Way in Connemara


View from the front door of our Saturday night lodging at Lough Inagh Lodge

Leaving Lough Inagh

Into the Shire (what Joy and I began calling every forest)

Boat ride out of Leenane on Ireland’s only fjord-Killary Harbour

One of many stiles we used July 15

Our Western Way guidepost

Descending from Sheefry Pass

Croagh Patrick (Patrick’s Mountain)

Track down to Westport Bay

Town of Westport in County Mayo

Attended “Atlantic Notes” at Westport’s Town Hall Theater-music, dance, and stories from the Wild Atlantic Way


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Ireland Part One

Dublin Writers Museum


Book of Kells and Old Library Trinity College Dublin

Room about Storytelling at Irish Emigration Museum

  • Bronze Age hill fort on Aran Islands

    Kilronan Village (where we stayed)

    St Benan’s Church

    Boardwalk in Lackavrea Forest

    River in Maam Valley


    Traveling Friends



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Sabbatical – Week One

I am leaving this morning, Saturday, for Ireland. I am so glad I gave myself a week to rest and unwind before departure. I went shopping for the trip. Thanks to a few Trinity members for suggesting I go to Costco for a wide brim hat–they had one hat in two colors which is the right amount of options for me. I went to REI to get trail snacks, more Smart Wool, and iodine tablets. I might have cried if I had had to choose from all of the hats there.

I have had fun remembering my trip to Lutherland last summer. I have been reading Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall, which I bought on the trip. After looking at piles of photos and travel memorabilia for seven months, I finally completed my Lutherland scrapbook! I also am up-to-date on my Nampa scrapbook, had stuff in another pile going back to summer 2017. It was kind of relaxing. I did not cut cute shapes or make nice backdrops for photos but I did get everything pasted into the books and added some commentary. That is a win for me.

The most surprising thing about the week was the lack of sermon preparation and what that did for my head. Even when I go on two-week vacation or continuing education trip I look ahead to what I will be preaching on when I return. You never know when inspiration will hit you. But looking at the texts for Oct. 13 seemed ridiculous. So I pulled out my doctor in ministry project bibliography. I downloaded all of my journal articles, thanks to access through the Graduate Theological Union Library, and then I went to the local library. I learned that I can have two interlibrary loan requests in at a time with the Nampa public library. The best lesson of the week is that as a resident of Idaho I can get a library card for Boise State University’s library, which has three books I need.

(Christa and me on Idaho Street)

(statue of former Idaho Governor Cecil D. Andrus, near the State Capitol)

The highlight of the week was catching up with a friend. Christa’s three weeks with her Boise family overlapped with my first week of sabbatical. Christa served as pastors of two local Methodist congregations when I was a few years into serving at Trinity. Now she is 20 months into a call serving a Nazarene (her home denomination) congregation in Nashville. We spent much of Wednesday in downtown Boise (on Idaho’s anniversary of statehood day) and most of Thursday in Nampa.


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Sabbatical Companions

Who are the people I will travel with or visit between July 1-Oct. 7?

My companion in Ireland will be Joy Donathan. I met Joy my first month in Idaho, November 2010, at the ecumenical 20s-30s Bible Study (back when we were both in our 30s) held at Thomas Hammer Coffee. Joy was the lone Episcopalian and had worked for the Idaho Episcopal Diocese with Rev. Karen Hunter, who now serves Grace Episcopal Church, Nampa. In 2010, Joy was finishing earning her teaching certificate from BSU. She went on to teach math at Frank Church High School and North Junior High. After earning her master’s in education from Michigan State, program housed in Galway, Ireland, she pursued her dream of teaching overseas and moved to Abu Dhabi (UAE). That was two years ago. I think both of us would trace the nurturing of our friendship to five summers of attending the Idaho Shakespeare Festival together.

I will travel to Prince Edward Island with my childhood friend (we’re talking Custer Elementary and Sunday School at Custer Lutheran Fellowship) Jennifer Cerfogli and Jennifer’s oldest daughter/my goddaughter Celia, age 13. Jennifer and husband Frank also have twins Ann and Sofia and their youngest is Henry. Our friendship never would have faded but we were blessed during most of my time as a pastor in Iowa to live only 2.5 hours apart. Jennifer, a veterinarian, finished a fellowship in Oregon and came back to get another degree from Iowa State University, Ames. She served on the faculty there for many years but last fall she was hired by Texas A & M, College Station.

I will be staying with my parents, Linde and Jerry, in Custer, SD. I will spend time with my half-brother Steve and sister-in-law Peggy. For a few days, I will accompany Pastor Larry Peterson, an old family friend who has spent much of his life pastoring on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and has recently been the major driver behind founding the Woyatan Retreat Center in Rapid City, SD. Our lives first crossed professionally when Larry was serving on the South Dakota Synod Candidacy Committee. He conducted my entrance exam to candidacy at a picnic bench in Hill City, SD. Of interest to some Trinity members, he happens to be the brother of Ann Sansgaard, wife of Dick Sansgaard, who served as Trinity’s interim pastor before you called me. It can be a small Lutheran world.

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Commissioning for Sabbatical

My Sabbatical Task Force asked me to find or create a commissioning service for the end of worship my last Sunday before beginning the sabbatical journey. I went to the Facebook page for revgalblogpals and was thankful to find a post about such commissions by Cynthia J. Hallas, who shared hers with me. I inserted and adapted texts from the service of installation of church council members (from Evangelical Lutheran Worship) and from the Lilly Endowment’s resources. Notes on the service: Tammy and Steve are members of the Task Force and Vicar Mia has been our intern for eight months and will continue through the month of July.

Service of Commissioning for Sabbatical

Congregational parts in bold

Vicar Mia: People of God, by virtue of our baptism God calls us to mission and ministry, and to holy labor in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. At certain times, God also called us to occasions of sabbath rest and reflection so that we might be renewed for Christian service.

As we prepare to send Pastor Meggan forth on her sabbatical, we gather to ask God’s blessing upon her, and upon us as we ready ourselves for the weeks ahead.

Vicar Mia: God traces our journeys and resting places,

C: And is acquainted with all our ways.

Vicar Mia: God will preserve our going out and our coming in,

C: From this time forth and forevermore.

Vicar Mia: Let us pray. God of all wisdom send your blessing on our congregational community as we enter this time of our pastor’s sabbatical. Guide our leaders through challenges that may arise. Give to all of us discerning and prayerful hearts, spirits ready to understand and quick to forgive, ears to listen for your word, and voices to speak the truth. Make us bold to live out your Gospel as we seek to do your will. Amen.

Vicar Mia: Church Council Members, you have been chosen to seek to involve all members of this congregation in worship, learning, witness, service, and support, so that the mission of Christ is carried out in the congregation, in the wider church, in this community, and in the world. Will you continue to faithfully carry out the duties of the offices to which you have been called?

Council Members: We will, and we ask God to help us.

Tammy T: Pastor Meggan, are you ready to step away from the obligations of daily parish life and to engage in this period of sabbatical? Will you take time for reflection and renewal and rest in the life-giving experiences that await you?

Pr Meggan: I will, and I ask God to help me.

Tammy T: Members and friends of Trinity Lutheran Church, in this time of sabbatical, will you support your elected leaders, Vicar Mia, and Pastor John? Will you share in the mutual ministry that Christ has given to all who are baptized? Will you pray for them and for Pastor Meggan on her sabbatical journey?

C: We will, and we ask God to help us.

Leaders gather round for laying on of hands.

Steve V: God of all blessing, be with your servant Meggan as she undertakes her sabbatical journey. Grant her a holy departure from this community, safety in all her travels, rest and renewal for her spirit and body, and the joy of a grace-filled return. We ask these things in the name of the holy and undivided Trinity, one God. Amen.

Adapted from Cynthia J. Hallas’ Service of Commissioning for a Sabbatical 2001, ELW Occasional Services for Assembly, and 2019 Lilly Endowment National Clergy Renewal Program Guide.


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Peace Camp Transforms

The third annual Learning Peace: A Camp for Kids will take place in Nampa this July 22-25 at the Hispanic Cultural Center. This is a free camp for youth ages 6-13 with a special program for older teens this year, see below. I love how this event continues to grow and transform. Here are some changes coming this year:

Last year, each afternoon, our participants heard portions of “Tree of Peace,”  a legend of the Iroquois League of Nations. So this year, for each of the Connecting with Nature sessions one morning, each age group will help plant trees at Lakeview Park with city of Nampa staff.

We were able to purchase good registration software, thanks to a grant received from the Celtic Cross Society at Church Divinity School of the Pacific.

We are bringing back a dietician from St. Luke’s Medical Center who will teach mindful eating one morning during the Mindfulness lessons. She taught the first year and the kids loved the lesson.

Each afternoon we have special groups come and share with the entire group of kids. This year we will have a few new guests, including Hula Dancers, Shimi Tree (a Flamenco group), and Oyamel Folkloric Dancers. Birds of Prey will join us for the third year in a row.

Finally, we are adding Play for Peace this year. Here is an invitation to teenagers 14 or older from my colleague Rev. Karen Hunter:

“Play for Peace is an organization dedicated to youth and cooperative play as a way to create laughter, compassion, and peace around the world.  It utilizes the leadership of young people to raise cultural awareness and work for peace ( and combat bullying) in their communities.  There are Play for Peace clubs all over the world and we would like to start one here in Canyon County.
The idea is that young people are trained in how to play and lead these peace games by a trainer who works with youth all over the world.  When they are confident in their training, they will plan activities for children to learn and experience these new games.  Each club posts at least four of their events a year on-line.  You become part of a global movement for peace.  Once or twice a year there is an opportunity to go to conferences and meet other young people involved in this leadership.
We are looking for some young people who want to be leaders in our community, who like to laugh and have fun together, who want to share their skills with others, and who want to work for peace in our world.  Learning Peace, Inc., will provide adult support and help as the Play for Peace club is established.  We have a trainer coming during Peace Camp, July 21-25 to train all interested persons.
Do you want to be part of the team?  Are you dedicated to peace in the world?  Can you be a leader in our community?  If the answer is “yes”, sign up now by emailing Karen+ at or calling 208-993-0048.”

It will be a fabulous four days!


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