What Sabbatical is All About

The Funerary-Religious Complex of Sultan Qaytbay: Detail of the star pattern on the stone domeLast month, Cedars’ Board of Trustees approved the Committee on Ministry’s proposal that our co-ministers, Revs. Barbara and Jaco ten Hove, go on a four-month sabbatical leave during the first half of the next calendar year (2013).

Sabbatical leave, a tradition among academics and clergy, is a period of time set aside for activities such as research, writing, travel, and renewal. The word comes from “Sabbath” and is linked to the ancient practice of allowing fields to lie fallow one year in every seven so that the soil could sustain a high level of fertility.

Most UU parish ministers, including ours, have sabbatical provisions in their Letters of Agreements, typically accruing one month of paid leave for every year of service. The general recommendation is to arrange shorter sabbaticals more frequently, thus this four-month break during what will be our co-ministers’ fifth year at Cedars.

As Barbara and Jaco look ahead to this period (exact dates for which are still taking shape), they are brewing some study/writing projects and hope to take a long-desired trip to Israel and perhaps other settings in Europe.

Meanwhile, you may be wondering, “What’s in it for us at Cedars?” Here’s a short list of sabbatical opportunities:

As we get closer to 2013, much more specific plans, such as for coverage in their absence, will be formulated and presented to the church. In the meantime, feel free to contact a member of our Committee with any questions, concerns or willingness to help.

—Committee on Ministry members: Jan Mulder, Tom Kuniholm, Nancy Philip