Getting Out There

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Amalia likes to expand her view by getting out there! 


I’m headed for the wilderness! (and the city and the sea).

During the month of February, I will be taking a month of study and renewal leave in Mexico. Not only is the practice of sabbath part of our religious tradition, it is also a concept that is supported by many in the field of social justice work. Doing hard work in life-giving ways is a central value for ELM. Two years ago, we were introduced to the concept of the 4-day work week at Rockwood Leadership Institute and after six months of conversation and exploration, we made this our practice. Eventually, Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries hopes to offer a full-fledged sabbatical for long term staff.

But for the time being, we all agreed that a month made sense for ELM and me right now. And after ten years in the role, I’m looking forward to the chance to think in new ways for a spell. I’ll be spending the month in Mexico, primarily on the Yucatán Peninsula, traveling with my partner, David. I am looking forward to opening up my daily routine, spending time in another culture, and stretching myself figuratively and physically. I will be taking two weeks of language and culture classes and combining it with two weeks of vacation. In addition, I’m planning to focus my reading and reflection on two main subjects: love and prayer (and a little dash of dancing).

Two quotes to guide me:

[S]o our customary practice of prayer was brought to mind: how through our ignorance and inexperience in the ways of love we spend so much time on petition. I saw that it is indeed more worthy of God and more truly pleasing to [God] that through [God’s] goodness we should pray with full confidence, and by [God’s] grace cling to [God] with real understanding and unshakeable love, than that we should go on making as many petitions as our souls are capable of.

Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love


I thank God every day/that I woke up feeling this way.

Meghan Trainor, “Me Too”

Asher, Christephor, and the ELM Board will be keeping things going strong while I’m away. Being part of a collective effort has been one of the greatest joys of my work with ELM. And it’s always good to be reminded from time to time that things go on just fine without us when we take time away. I’m incredibly grateful to the Board, Asher, and Christephor, and all of you for your support during this time.


Amalia Vagts is Executive Director of Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries and has served with the organization since October 2006.  Amalia’s last day in the office is Thursday, January 26. She will return to work on Wednesday, March 3.

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