Diocesan staff have just returned to work after a week-long mini-break. The entire office was closed for five full days, giving staff a chance to relax and renew. Which got us thinking about sabbaticals.
In the late 1980s, the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Virginia issued a report to Annual Council, recommending sabbatical guidelines for clergy and lay professionals. Here are some highlights from that report:
1. The sabbatical is intended to provide rest and renewal, but should have a structure to it. Planning for the sabbatical is just as important for the clergy or lay professional as it is for the church. The planning process can be broken into three phases: the pre-sabbatical or planning phase; the sabbatical itself; and the post-sabbatical phase.
2. During the first phase, the objectives of the sabbatical should be defined in general terms and a flexible plan should be developed to achieve those objectives. The plan might involve group study, travel, writing or some combination of all three, blended with a good measure of relaxation and family time.
3. The second phase is the sabbatical and the person should follow a flexible approach to pursuing the planned objectives, bearing in mind that the overall goal is rest and renewal, not rigid adherence to a prescribed plan of action.
4. The third phase is a time of adjustment for both the person returning and for those who have
coped with that person’s absence. A form of feedback should be provided through face-to-face
dialogue, or in the form of a written report.
Check out these resources on planning and funding sabbaticals. Do you have any recommendations to share?
- Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Program
- The Louisville Institute Pastoral Study Project Program
- “Feeding the Soul“: A 2009 Virginia Episcopalian article exploring the clergy sabbatical
- Sabbatical Resources from Escape101
- Sabbatical Resources from Insights into Religion
Share your own sabbatical stories with us!