Sabbatical FAQs

What Is Sabbatical?

Sabbatical (from the word sabbath) is time away from the regular routines of work for rest, renewal, and rebirth. The essence of sabbatical is rooted in the biblical practice of the Sabbath day described in the creation story. Jesus kept this practice when he took time in his ministry for renewal. He often went away to pray and reflect in silence and meditation “on mountain tops and by lakesides.” The daily practice of ministry may involve the pressure of many tasks compressed into too few hours, leaving little opportunity for reflective, prayerful time. In the context of ministry, sabbatical time is for learning through reflection, revitalization, and recreation.

Why is the sabbatical happening now?

Unlike a called minister, Intentional Interim Ministers don’t normally take a sabbatical while in an appointment. When we invited Rev. Catherine to be our Intentional Interim Minister for a period of two years, we had no idea what 2020 would hold. Due to Covid19 there was a significant interruption to the planned Interim Ministry. Rev. Catherine had to switch her focus to pastoral ministry and creating an online ministry. As an Intentional Interim Minister, Rev. Catherine was eligible and planning on taking a sabbatical at the end of her appointment with Stairs in the summer of 2021 before going on to her next appointment. After discussions with her, the Executive, the Pastoral Relations minister and consulting with the General Council Office, the Transition Team recommended to the Executive that a second term be offered starting in September to December 2022, with a sabbatical from June 1-August 31st. This was approved at the October Executive meeting. This sabbatical is being paid for by the General Council Office.

When will this happen?

Rev. Catherine will be away for 4 months. May 15 – September 15. She is combining her sabbatical time with vacation time. Her last worship service with us will be May 9, 2021 and her first one back will be September 19th.

What are the goals of the sabbatical time?

Reflection, revitalization, and recreation are the goals of any sabbatical. Combined with unstructured time to garden, connect with the sacred in a variety of ways and hopefully explore the province, Rev. Catherine is enrolled in a Masters Certificate in Social Enterprise through the University of Fredericton. This is to enhance her interim ministry skills in equipping church leaders, both ordained and lay, to explore how they can partner with their communities in ways that align with their values.

Who will lead worship?

  • May 16 – June 27 – Jessie Crabtree
  • July 4 – August 29 – Rev. Wendy Kean
  • September 5 & 12 – Jessie Crabtree
  • September 19 – Rev. Catherine back

What about funerals?

Rev. Dr. Ross Bartlett has agreed to be on call for funerals for members of Stairs, as well as Rev. Wendy Kean. As always, Gordon McKeen and Joanne Thornton will be the contact people.

What about Executive or Congregational meetings?

If any meetings are required, Rev. Dr. Susan MacAlpine-Gillis has agreed to be the Pastoral Charge Supervisor and will attend any meetings necessary, she is one of the regional representatives on the Transition Team and familiar with the congregation.

What about the Interim Ministry work?

Church life has its normal slow down over the summer months; however the Transition Team will continue to work on some things:

  • Complete the purging/decluttering of the lower level.
  • Consult with other Community Leaders in the area to see how Stairs can be better connected.
  • Explore the grants available for a possible basement renovation.
  • Support those who indicated they wanted to start a project.
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