Friday, March 12, 2010

Info on Clergy Sabbatical Leaves, Texas Annual Conference

Considerations drawn from ¶352 Book of Discipline on Sabbatical Leave
  1. Available to Full-time Local Pastors, Associate, or Clergy members in full connection.
  2. Intended duration of 3—4 months (shorter sabbaticals can be negotiated).
  3. Compensation during the short-term sabbatical is maintained with the local congregation or salary-paying unit where the clergy is appointed.
  4. Must be requested in writing with plans for study or travel for the BOM and Bishop and D.S.
  5. Sabbatical leaves can be granted after completion of any six consecutive years of full-time service or the equivalent for part-time appointments.
Interim pastoral leadership guidelines are *below

Types of Leaves
  1. Short-term sabbaticals may be granted for study in a particular are of pastoral or specialized ministry.
  2. Advanced degree work.
  3. Pilgrimage
  4. Spiritual formation
  5. Learning a new style of worship or type of ministry
  6. A practicum in a type or style of ministry
  7. In depth research in areas of ministry or pastoral leadership
  8. Intercultural experience
  9. Language immersion experience
  10. Writing and reflection on an intense personal or pastoral experience.
A short-term sabbatical should not be used as renewal leave. Renewal leave is a shorter and (can be) a more frequent leave for renewal of the soul, physical health, or emotional recovery.

Benefits of a Short-Term Sabbatical
  • Encourages longer pastorates
  • Enhances the role of spiritual leader
  • Allows personal and professional development
  • Prevents burn-out
  • Encourages congregational self-sufficiency
The Director of the Center for Clergy Excellence, the D.S., and members of the BOM can be helpful in working with the clergyperson and the SPRC in planning for a Clergy Short-Term Sabbatical.

Complete an application form for short-term sabbatical describing the purpose, scope and duration of the sabbatical. Submit it to your Texas Conference D.S. and SPRC for their review, support, and signatures. Send your completed original to Short-Term Sabbatical Committee c/o Rev. B.T. Williamson, Director, Center for Clergy Excellence, Texas Annual Conference 5215 Main Street, Houston, TX. 77002.

*Interim Leadership During the Sabbatical

A Transitional Interim Ministry Specialist (TIMS) will be appointed to serve the congregation as interim pastor during the short-term sabbatical. The Director of the Center for Clergy Excellence will work with the pastor, SPRC, and D.S. to negotiate and complete a TIMS covenant assignment.

During the short-term sabbatical time, the D.S. will be invited to preach at least once at the church. During the short-term sabbatical time, the clergyperson is to be in touch with the D.S. for support, assistance if needed, and accountability. The D.S. will be available to the local congregation for guidance in regard to emergencies during the short-term sabbatical. The D.S. shall have a time to meet with the returning clergyperson and SPRC of the local congregation for a debriefing about the short-term sabbatical experience.

For further information contact: Rev. Suzan Carter, TIMS Consultant,713-859-7070, or Barbara Kilby, Center for Clergy Excellence, 713-521-9383, ext. 322, Texas Annual Conference, The United Methodist Church, Bishop Janice Riggle Huie.

1 comment:

  1. In 2011 I did a four month exchange with another pastor. It was both interdenominational and international. It was such a beneficial experience for both of our families and congregations that I've set up a website to help promote the idea, and help facilitate pastors connecting with each other for sabbatical or vacation exchanges. You can have a look at for more info.

    God bless,


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