- What is a sabbatical?
The word sabbatical has its roots in the biblical concept of the Sabbath (“to rest” or “to cease”). Sabbath keeping is setting aside time that God consecrates and makes holy.
Sabbatical leave is a time for our pastor to shift gears in order to rest, disengage, study, reflect, and travel in order to return to minister among us refreshed and renewed in body, mind, and spirit. It is not a time for routine work, mid-career assessment, job search, or terminal leave.
Sabbatical is more than a vacation from meetings, budgets, sermons, and people in need. It is a time for Bill to receive spiritual nourishment and a change in perspective, to deepen his relationship with God, himself, and his family—a season of spiritual renewal. This special time will also be a season of growth for the entire congregation.
- Do other clergy go on sabbatical?
Yes. A growing number of clergy are taking sabbaticals in various denominations. In 2000, Salem Presbytery recognized the importance of spiritual renewal and adopted the sabbatical policy, and since that time has encouraged its ministers to utilize this time for reflection, regrowth, and revitalization. Almost all new calls to this presbytery since that time have included a sabbatical provision. This is not a “new thing” in many Presbyterian churches.
In 2001 our Personnel Committee wrote and unanimously approved a policy. In 2002 our session unanimously approved the same policy. This policy allows for three months of sabbatical renewal leave after the first five years of service and then after every four years of service by the pastor. It has been five years since Bill took a sabbatical (2016).
- How long will Bill be gone?
Bill will be gone for three months: June, July and August.
His sabbatical will begin on Tuesday, June 1, 2021. He will return to the church on Wednesday, September 1, 2021. His first Sunday service following his sabbatical will be on September 5, 2021.
- What will Bill be doing on his sabbatical?
This summer Bill is back to the 3 Rs. Not reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic but reflection, renewal and rest. Our church and world have been through a lot recently and Bill will be taking time this summer to reflect on where we have been and where God might be calling us moving forward. He hopes to connect with some church leaders across the country and pick their brains about how church communities are moving forward into a post-COVID world.
Bill has done some interesting things on his previous sabbaticals like travel to Israel, Scotland, and a silent monastery. This year the COVID-19 pandemic has slammed all of his serious travel plans and cancelled or made virtual most of the seminaries’ education events this summer. Renewal travel will probably be domestic with axis points where his two children live now and some retreat places.
“Sabbatical” comes from the word “Sabbath” and Bill is thinking Sabbath may be the primary theme for this time away. Rest from the challenging stress of his duties will help renew and encourage our pastor. If travel becomes a good option, we know Bill and Felicia will be experiencing life and faith with different people in different situations.
- How will the sabbatical be funded? Will the church budget need to be increased to cover its share of the expenses?
He will fund his continuing education classes over the summer from his own budgeted account. The church budget will not be affected, nor will it be necessary for the church to share any of his travel expenses.
- Who will cover Bill’s responsibilities during his absence?
Rev. Jodi Lingan, our interim associate pastor, will fill in for Bill and will cover
pastoral care duties, which includes visitation of hospitals and nursing homes. Jodi will be our primary worship leader with several great guest preachers.
Primary administrative responsibilities will rest with the elders on the church session.
- Will Bill be in contact with Clemmons Presbyterian during his sabbatical?
No. An important part of a sabbatical is to make a complete break from work commitments. In the unlikely event that some extraordinary news absolutely must be communicated to Bill, please call the church office. You may continue to play golf with Bill and see him socially (if you promise not to talk about CPC.)
- Who will I call to plan a special service?
The church office will be open and staffed as usual. This is the place to start in arranging for weddings, funerals, baptisms, and other special services. Bill will not be available to provide these services during his sabbatical.
- Who do I call if I have a family or personal crisis?
For pastoral concerns, contact Rev. Jodi Lingan or the church office.
- Who should I contact for special prayer requests?
You may contact the church office or Rev. Lingan.
- Who will oversee the administration of the church in Bill’s absence?
Rev. Lingan will be the acting head of staff while our church session will handle other administrative duties of the church, facilitating communications, and overseeing the use of church facilities as well as making any other necessary administrative decisions.
What if a question/concern arises while Bill is gone?
The sabbatical task force will serve as a “clearinghouse” for questions and concerns. Ultimately the church session will exercise the authority to resolve all issues concerning church life.
- Will the church just be in a “holding pattern” while Bill is gone?
No. All of our ministries will continue to flourish while Bill is away. Also, it is important to remember that the sabbatical is a two-way process: while Bill is on his journey of renewal, refreshment, and reflection, we will embark on a journey as well—to continue reflection on our prior work, to renew ourselves, and to discern God’s will for us. We may even find it beneficial to continue with some of the responsibilities which we have undertaken during this time.
- How will we get “reacquainted” when Bill returns?
A “Welcome Home” event will depend on COVID restrictions. We’ll have more information this summer.
- How can I learn more about the sabbatical?
You may contact anyone on the sabbatical task force committee:
Rebecca Holt Bev Sanford Kevin Sherwood Susan Allred Jenny McPherson