Our Fellowship’s agreement with Rev. Andrew calls for him to be able to take a sabbatical after four years in our pulpit. (He is now in his sixth year with us.) This is standard practice for Unitarian Universalist congregations, although it will be a new experience for our congregation.
The sabbatical is a time for a minister to pursue activities outside of normal ministerial duties. As described in our agreement, it is intended for “study, education, writing, meditation, and other forms of professional and religious growth.” Ministry calls on the minister’s intellectual, spiritual, emotional and even physical talents on a 24/7 basis, and sabbatical leave recognizes the demanding nature of ministry by offering a time for refreshment and personal development.
Sabbaticals are designed to strengthen the minister’s ability to carry forth the calling by providing time for activities that can often be pushed aside in the day-to-day demands of the work. It also creates a time for the congregation to discover talents and strengths in itself. Sabbatical leave accrues at a rate of one month per year of service, though a first-time sabbatical is generally just two or three months.
The Policy Board, working with Rev. Andrew, has initiated a process of preparing for the sabbatical which will likely occur sometime in 2017. A committee will be created, and chaired by UUFP Vice-President Jim Sanderson, to facilitate this process. Sabbatical leave creates challenges and opportunities for any congregation, so the committee will work with Rev. Andrew to develop a plan for his use of the sabbatical time and to make recommendations and information available to the congregation.
Please contact us if you have any questions, concerns or comments.