This month I am writing to you about a practice used among UU ministers to deepen spiritual practice and scholarship, to rest and recharge. This practice is the sabbatical. For a minister this is a period of paid leave dedicated to study and retreat, usually occurring once every five to seven years. 2017 will mark the 6th year of my ministry with you and it is the year during which I will be taking my first sabbatical. In large congregations ministers are usually on sabbatical for six months. This would be untenable for me, as I would not be able to stay away from you that long! With the blessing of your Board of Trustees and in accord with my contract, I will embark on a short sabbatical early next year.
The current plan is for me to be gone from March through Memorial Day Weekend, of 2017. I know some of you will be away for most of that time and will not be affected. For the majority of you, our members and friends, please rest assured that the pulpit will be covered in large part by UU ministers, preaching gratis. Pastoral Care will be provided by local UU and other clergy and I will be available by email or phone for emergencies. My plans are quite fluid at this point, but the Sabbatical will definitely include spiritual retreats; I have already planned for one at the Glastonbury Abbey in Hingham, Mass. I am also very much looking forward to seeing friends who live far away, and having more time for my spiritual practice.
I am so happy with my settled ministry here and hope to continue for many years to come. This opportunity to deepen my spiritual life, enrich my scholarship, and recharge will only serve to make our coming years together more fruitful and joyous. If you have any questions or concerns about this, you can talk with me or any member of the Board.
In the meantime, we have a great fall ahead of us! Some dates to remember include this Sunday, Sept. 4, to hear UU Mass Action Director, Laura Wagner, speak, the Religious Education potluck dinner on Sept 9, our Water Ceremony on Sept 11, and the Peace service and Music Festival, Sept 18.
I hope everyone has had a wonderful summer; I look forward to seeing you at 4 Cleaves Street! Rev Susan