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  • PATRICK'S PEOPLE: Rev. K.O. Noonoo is taking a five-month sabbatical

  • Sometimes the best way to build a closer bond is to spend some time apart.

    Pastor K.O. Noonoo of the Pittsburg Presbyterian Church and his family will begin a five-month sabbatical today.

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  • Sometimes the best way to build a closer bond is to spend some time apart.
    Pastor K.O. Noonoo of the Pittsburg Presbyterian Church and his family will begin a five-month sabbatical today.
    A special worship service will be held at 10:15 a.m. today, with the congregation praying for the pastor and his family as they leave, and also welcoming Rev. Dr. Warren Gene Campbell, Springfield, Mo., who will serve as sabbatical pastor.
    Rev. Susan Rosenbaum, John Calvin Presbytery pastoral presbyter, will officiate and commission this transition.
    “The sabbatical is much more than just a vacation for the pastor,” Rev. Noonoo said. “In fact, for us, it is a two-sided coin. The congregation will get a chance to renew itself apart from its pastor, even as the pastor does the same. We have agreed on the theme of relationship renewal.”
    He said that as he works to renew his relationships, church members are also invited to do the same.
    “Congregational events are being planned to that end,” he said. “In addition, the church family is invited to prayerfully consider what relationship renewal work they need to do in their own family.”
    Rev. Noonoo said that the sabbatical was built into the terms of call at the beginning of his relationship with the Pittsburg Presbyterian Church seven years ago.
    “It has been part of the church budget for three years,” he said.
    Last year the church applied for a National Clergy Program Renewal Grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. and received it.
    “I would have still taken the sabbatical without the grant, but with it I can do a lot more,” Rev. Noonoo said. “Several trips are planned, and the grant allows us to take these trips the way we are doing it. We would be very happy to share our experience with the grant process with any other congregation interested in applying for one.”
    The first trip will be a retreat that he will leave for today with a fellow Presbyterian pastor to Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, N.M.
    Rev. Noonoo and his wife, Anna, are also planning a marriage enrichment trip to Hawaii, without the company of children Betsy, Emma and Caleb.
    However, the children are not being left out.
    “We will take separate trips with each of the kids,” Rev. Noonoo said. “Caleb wants to go either ziplining or to a professional baseball game, and Emma wants to visit a working farm. Betsy wants to attend a Broadway show.”
    In June the family will spend a month in Europe, and then go on to Ghana, Rev. Noonoo’s homeland, to spend a month with his family members there.
    “K.O.’s entire family, except for one sister, are in Ghana,” Mrs. Noonoo said. “Most flights to Ghana go through Europe anyway, and we decided that since we’d be there anyway, we would spend some time there. We plan to visit Paris, Italy and spend a few days in Spain, then go on to Ghana.”
    Page 2 of 2 - The two older children, Betsy and Emma, have been in Ghana before, but their little brother Caleb, 7, has not.
    “I’m looking forward to going to Ghana and meeting my grandparents,” he said. “I’m also looking forward to seeing the Dolomite region of Italy.”
    Emma said that she was looking forward to seeing her grandparents and other family members again, and is also interested in Paris.
    “History is one of my favorite school subjects, and I’m going to learn a lot in Paris,” she said.
    Rev. Noonoo said he plans on updating the congregation about the family’s adventures about twice a month or so.
    “I have to say something about my appreciation to the congregation,” he said. “They have made a promise and seen it through. I think this is an investment in the life of the congregation.”
    His first time back with the congregation will be on Sept. 8.
    “My challenge is for other congregations to plan sabbaticals if they want a long-term relationship with their pastor,” Rev. Noonoo said. “Get away from each other for a while, then get back together for the next chapter.”

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