As many of you know, our Director of Lifespan Faith Development, Andrea James, has begun her twelfth year of service with us. She has demonstrated over and over again her dedication to our community and to our shared ministry together. To support her continued growth and learning as our DLFD, the Board of Directors has granted her a four-month sabbatical this year, from the beginning of December to the end of March.
This congregation has worked hard to live into the reality of being a fair and just employer of its professional staff, and one of the ways we do this is by taking into consideration the guidelines given by our professional organizations. In the area of faith development and religious exploration, we turn to the Liberal Religious Educators’ Association (LREDA for short). This is what their guidelines offer us about sabbaticals:
“The members of LREDA hold that religious education leadership is a sacred trust. Those engaged in this profession have the honor, privilege, and responsibility of passing on a rich religious heritage to the generations of the present and the future. Whether in a part-time or a full-time position, the work of a religious educator is ministry in the fullest sense of inspiration, care, and service. […] The religious educator is a member of a profession utilizing an ever-growing body of knowledge and cluster of skills and should be granted an extended period of leave with salary every five to seven years for personal growth, enrichment and renewal (not to include scheduled vacation time). Individual arrangements vary, but one month for every year of service is standard.”
A sabbatical of four months was determined through many conversations between Andrea, myself, the RE committee, and the Board as the best amount of time to allow Andrea significant time for her learning and growth as our DLFD without disrupting congregational life. As you will read in the rest of this month’s newsletter, teams are forming to cover Andrea’s many tasks and roles in our congregation, and we invite you to take this opportunity to volunteer and allow your connection to our community deepen through new relationships and new ways of serving.
In gratitude and faith,