After delaying my planned sabbatical last summer due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, I have now rescheduled this time for spring/summer 2021. After a year that has been taxing for all of us, I am so grateful to be able to take this time for renewal. The new sabbatical dates are April 5 to August 1, 2021. This timing will allow me to be back in time to plan for the new church year – in high hopes that we will be able to re-gather in person sometime in the fall or winter. Here is some info, in FAQ format:
What is a sabbatical?
Sabbatical is a long tradition in ministry and academia alike, allowing for an extended time of study, reflection, rest, and renewal… all ingredients for effective ministry. In our Unitarian Universalist tradition, sabbatical leave is part of the congregation’s covenantal agreement with their minister, who generally earns one month of sabbatical per year of service up to a limit of 6 months.
What will you be doing with your sabbatical?
I know this opportunity for extended renewal is a rare gift in our American culture of overwork and grind, and I am humbled and grateful for the chance to re-charge my batteries in this way, especially after the grueling pandemic year we have all experienced. I hope to rest, do a lot of reading to renew my wells of preaching fodder, and also take on a writing project that has been tickling my brain – a small poetry collection exploring ancestry, healing, and dismantling white supremacy. I hope to return refreshed and full of ideas and rekindled energy for a new church year and an eventual return to in-person worship!
What kind of support will we have during the sabbatical?
The board has been saving for sabbatical coverage since I arrived in 2012. We will have a part-time sabbatical minister to fulfill my executive and pastoral capacities and preach twice per month, our usual summer lay led worship schedule, and a “digital liturgist” to help keep online worship running smoothly.
I am very pleased to announce to you that the Rev. Dr. C.W. Dawson has been hired as our sabbatical minister, as originally planned. The Rev. Dr. CW Dawson is a progressive pastor, professor of philosophy and religion, prolific columnist, and a regular and beloved guest preacher and teacher here at UUCC. I am elated that he is available to work with us in this way – to guide the congregation and to provide new perspective to our ministry during this period.
Does sabbatical benefit the congregation?
Yes! A sabbatical can be a time of mutual growth and exploration for minister and congregation alike, as the congregation has the chance to benefit from different perspectives and ideas. Rev. Dr. Dawson will be exploring multi-culturalism and growth with the congregation through his role as sabbatical minister.
Will you be around during sabbatical?
I will be on full leave from all church duties and will not be available for anything church-related, including pastoral care. But I will mostly be in town as my family go about their usual pandemic-era lives close to home. If we run into each other around town and you recognize me all masked up, please do feel free to say hello. Just know I won’t be able to talk church business with you!
Have more questions? Send them my way!