“Sabbatical,” like “sabbath,” comes from “shabbath,” Hebrew for “rest.” The ancient Hebrews not only rested every seventh day, but let the land rest every seven years to ensure its productivity. Sabbaticals have long been common in academia and are increasingly so in ministry, especially in Unitarian Universalism; 75% of UU ministers have agreements that include sabbaticals.
~From All Souls UU Church Sabbatical Handbook
A provision for this very kind of sabbatical is part of my covenant with our church. And I’ll be taking a sabbatical for four months, from January through April of 2012. I’ve been considering just what I’d like this time away to consist of for quite a while now. The plan requires board approval. The focus of my sabbatical will be: Deeply Engaging in Music in order to Build a Vocal Community.
Goals for my sabbatical time include:
– to begin taking Ukulele Lessons,
– to participate in a drumming circle
– to take voice lessons and make efforts for participation in singing and performance opportunities
– to experience various forms of Sunday worship (with attention paid to special music)
– to make a regular practice of reading and writing every day
Before I leave in January I will preach a good-bye sermon, and when I return at the beginning of May, a sermon where I’ll specifically focus on what this time has meant for me—and for us together. While I’m away, I’ll keep in touch with you through a monthly email update, just like my weekly updates now, but in monthly form.
We have a sabbatical committee that has been meeting in order to make sure that all the areas of ministry in the church are covered. We’ve made arrangements for wonderful, professional worship on Sundays. Many of my colleagues will be visiting our church, and I am excited for you to meet them, or get to know some of them better. I’m also pleased that our Worship Committee has stepped up to leadership and will be providing creative worship once a month.
Provisions will be made for pastoral care should it be needed, and you’ll see a brochure that will attempt to answer all your questions. If you have concerns, I invite you to talk to me or our Board president, Andy Hansen. We’d be happy to talk with you.
One of the gifts of sabbatical is that the congregation also has a chance for exploration and discovery, too. It allows you to consider what matters to you, to consider your passions. It will allow both of us re-discovery upon my return and I look forward to that.
In gratitude for the season,