Greetings, beloveds. It’s time for us to talk about sabbatical.
The sabbatical leave is a tradition for Unitarian Universalist clergy, as it is for the university. It offers an extended time for study, reflection, rest, and renewal—all ingredients for effective ministry. A sabbatical leave is also part of our congregation’s letter of agreement with me as your minister. From March through June of 2022, I will be on sabbatical. This program year so far, I’ve also deferred taking periodic vacation and study leave because the congregation has needed me to be fully present as we have worked to transition two staff positions, and the pandemic has continued to put stress on our community. This means that my remaining vacation and study leave will begin on Christmas Day.
So what will happen in the congregation during this time?
Our Sunday services team is already working hard to make sure our services are covered. Thanks to modern technology, we can invite speakers not just from our own congregation and community, but also the entire world. Our reopening teams are currently experimenting with how we can continue to provide that multi-platform experience even once we can have services in the building again — making sure we live into our commitment to be accessible to all.
While we have an excellent team of pastoral care associates, even when I am present, a caring community requires all to participate in mutual support and love. This is even more true when the minister is on sabbatical. And, many of us stop ourselves before reaching out when someone is in distress for fear of saying or doing the wrong thing. If you are interested in learning more about how to support our caring community while I’m away, please sign up for the Creating Our Caring Community workshop on November 20th. This workshop is for all who wish to deepen their skills of listening and engaging with others in meaningful ways — creating the web of the community that keeps us in covenant with each other.
We know there are other areas that you may have questions about, and the Shared Ministry Team (which becomes the Sabbatical Committee per their terms of reference) will be working with leadership and will share information as it is confirmed.