From Rev. Molly Housh Gordon:
After a year that was taxing for all of us, I am so grateful to be able to take this time for renewal before our eventual return to in-person worship. I plan to be back in plenty of 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.
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 six 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 small writing project that has been tickling my brain. I hope to return refreshed and full of fresh ideas and rekindled energy for a new church year and an eventual return to in-person worship!
What support will we have during the sabbatical?
The board has been saving for sabbatical coverage since I arrived. We will have a part-time sabbatical minister to fulfill my executive and pastoral capacities and preach twice per month, as well as a “digital liturgist” to help keep online worship running smoothly.
Who will be our sabbatical minister?
Rev. Dr. C.W. Dawson has been hired as our sabbatical minister, as originally planned. The Rev. Dr. 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 members 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!
What if I have more questions?
Email them to our sabbatical minister, Rev. Dr. C.W. Dawson.