Clergy Corner

Sid Batts

By Senior Pastor Sid Batts

With the arrival of summer, I am thinking “more golf!” Summer does give us more R&R time. Golf may not be your route to R&R, and even if you are not a golfer, you’ll get it when I say: there are similarities in praying and putting!

In golf, putting is the most important aspect of the game. In a game where the standard (par) is 72, half of those strokes are accounted for on the putting green.

Putting is a mystery. It is so simple that any person without an ounce of athletic ability can do it well. Conversely, a person who is a superb athlete can be a mediocre putter.

The similarities? Putting and praying are both “mysteries.” And, as putting is critical to golf, prayer is a critical and vital factor in our spiritual life. The lack of a rich prayer life impedes our growing relationship with God.

Jesus’ disciples wanted to know about prayer and asked Jesus to teach them about it. Jesus responded with what we call “The Lord’s Prayer.” It is a beautiful and modeling prayer with contents pointing us to adoration, praise, petition, forgiveness and lining ourselves with God’s will.

What is important about praying is simply doing it. Like putting, there are many methods. We can pray with our eyes open or write our prayers. We can say silent prayers all through the day or learn a “breath prayer” where we inhale and exhale our day’s great need.

We can pray on a walk or in a labyrinth. We can pray in the shower or it can be our first thoughts in a new waking day. We can pray by ourselves or with others, at the table or at our desk. The world of prayer is limited only to our creativity and discovery!

The bottom line is that in and through prayer, we are talking, listening and communicating with God. What an extraordinary privilege!

May we use the gift of summer to explore, discover and pray.

Blessings (Fore!),


Dear Friends,

It was a terrific sabbatical! It gave me time to read, think, grill, cook, eat, work on my golf game, travel, worship in other churches, ponder, pray, visit with some old friends, exercise, attend several conferences, and spend time with my family.

I am grateful to this congregation and our Session for seeing the worth of clergy sabbaticals. In essence, sabbaticals are about renewal. Thank you for this privilege.

 And, I am grateful to my colleagues. Our staff did not miss a beat.

I have returned to a renovation that is moving ahead full throttle. Big John was lifted out of the ground with thanks and celebration. And, as I write this, the sanctuary is full of scaffolding from floor to ceiling.

Some highlights from my sabbatical:

5 days of worship and prayer with the monks and students of St Tikon’s Orthodox Monastery and Seminary, part of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

2 church/clergy conferences: one on church staff management & development; the other a self and church assessment,  with an eye toward the future

My travels took me to San Francisco, the Monterey Peninsula, Napa Valley, Lake Tahoe, Topsail Beach and Siler City.

I took a couple of golf lessons, played nearly 20 rounds played, including Pebble Beach and Spyglass on the Monterey Peninsula.

I visited with a former secretary from years ago, an early mentor, an old coach, and two good friends from previous days

I spend time and had fun with our immediate family (Meredith, Roland, Rory, Emily and Hector, Mama Lucy) and with extended family.

I enjoyed going to the grocery store in the middle of the day and grilling out for dinner.

I enjoyed a long reading list! (see?)


It is good to be back. Though I enjoyed the experience of worshipping in other churches, I missed “my community” on Sunday mornings.

We have a lot to do (and be) in the name of Christ. Let’s get busy.






P.S. Send me an email, note or voicemail to: “If I could ask God one question…”  What’s yours? I’m starting a sermon series in September with your questions.




Sabbatical Reading List


The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhig


Falling Upward: A Spiritually for the Two Halves of Life by Richard Rohr


Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey Into the Afterlife by Eben Alexander


The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor


Spiritual Disciple Handbook: Practices that Transform Us by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun


A Testament of Devotion by Thomas R. Kelly


Pop Goes the Culture: Should the Church Engage Pop Culture by Tim Stevens


Power Questions: Build Relationship, Win New Business and Influence Others by Andrew Sobel & Jerold Panas


The Church of Facebook: How the Hyperconnected Are Redefining Community by Jesse Rice


Follow You Follow Me: Why Social Networking is Essential to Ministry by John Voelz

About Clergy Corner

Clergy Corner also appears in our printed newsletter, FPC News.

Just a Thought

Senior Pastor Sid Batts' morning radio messages, Just a Thought, are available via e-mail subscription, and at our archives. Subscribe here.