UPDATE | Dawn's Back
After twelve weeks of successfully keeping this tiny human alive, I’m back in the full swing of ministry at DOWNTOWN CHURCH. It's good to be back!
And instead of releasing a new album like ABBA just did, all I’ve got for you is this blog post letting you know how grateful I am for the time away.
Turns out, parental leave is not a given. According to the Washington Post, the United States lags way behind other countries in granting parental leave. In fact, we are the only country in the developed world that does not mandate employers to offer paid leave for new mothers. Instead of determining parental leave policies as a nation, we’ve left it to the organizations to decide how much time and money (if any) to give to new parent. Often the people making these policies are the same ones responsible for the organization’s bottom line and/or the people who will pull the extra weight when employees go on leave, so it is not surprising to me that we come up with zero. Nada. No pay for those bringing new life into this world.
Well, I’m here to tell you that at DOWNTOWN CHURCH things are different. You gave me twelve weeks of full paid leave so that I could take the time I needed to care for myself and my son.
And not only did you pay me while I didn’t work, but you continued to care for the organization I deeply care about. I came back to a thriving DOWNTOWN CHURCH.
And not only did you pay me while I didn’t work, but you fed me and my family. Good food! And you brought wine. What new parents do not need a good bottle of wine?
And not only did you pay me while I didn’t work, but several of you came and cuddled my little one. A few of you came so I could get out for a walk or a run or a trip to the grocery store by myself.
This is a glimpse of God’s kingdom. The opportunity to care for employees who are new parents is a significant moment when we decide who we will serve - God or the organization, the bottom line or the tiny, beautiful new humans God continues to create.
You may be thinking, “Of course we did that, we’re a church.” Sadly, churches are often some of the worst offenders when it comes to parental leave for pastors. Strapped by money or the need for their pastor at their beckon call, many pastors do not get the adequate time away they need to care for their little ones.
I did. The generosity and hospitality is not lost on me. And now, I write to you to say thanks.
Thank you for caring for my family. Thank you for giving me the time and space I needed to grow into this new identity of being somebody’s parent. Thank you for showing me and my family what God's kingdom is all about.