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.”
Unlike a called minister, Intentional Interim Ministers don’t normally take a sabbatical while in an appointment. When you invited me to be your Intentional Interim Minister for a period of two years, NOBODY had any idea what 2020 would hold. Due to Covid19 there was a significant interruption to the planned Interim Ministry and we had to make a switch to pastoral ministry and creating an online ministry.
As an Intentional Interim Minister, I was was eligible and planning on taking a sabbatical at the end of my appointment with Stairs in the summer of 2021 before going on to my next appointment.
After discussions with 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.
What were 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, I enrolled in a Masters Certificate in Social Enterprise through the University of Fredericton. This is to enhance my 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.
What did I actually do?
- I spent a lot of time gardening, walking and reading.
- I completed the first course in the Masters Certificate of Social Enterprise: Introduction to Social Enterprise, earning an A! This is an excerpt from my final paper:
Social enterprise can be defined as a business that exists to create social value, in other words, it has a defined social, cultural, or environmental goal embedded in its operation. It generates most its revenue through the sale of good and services, and most of its profits are reinvested in the social objective. (David LePage, EMBA 8030 – Class 1) It seeks a blended value on return. Where charities seek a social value return and traditional business seeks a financial return, social enterprise combines these into a blended return. (Jed Emerson) Social enterprise can be any kind of business and is distinct from corporate social responsibility. Social enterprise seeks to create community capital: social, human, economic, cultural, and physical. (David LePage, Marketplace Revolution, page 10)
I’m enrolled in the second course: Funding Models for Social Enterprise.
- I participated in a series of webinars on Hybrid Worship.
- I participated in a webinar on building an APP for your church.
- I presided at the baptism of Brielle Bingandadi (postponed due to lockdown)
- I listened to a variety of podcasts on a variety of subjects: leadership, indigenous issues, entrepreneurship, history.
- I read a variety of books that will inform ministry over the next while:
- 21 Things You May Not Know about the Indian Act
- Thriving Churches
- Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results
- Start With Why
- Thanks a Thousand
- 24/6: The Power of Unplugging One Day a Week.
- The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters – Studied with a group of colleagues
- Along with several dozen novels.
All of these will inform ministry as we reengage with the goals of this interim time.
I’m delighted to be back and I’m happy to have more conversation about my sabbatical time.