A ministerial sabbatical is a period of leave to be used for personal and/or professional development not possible during the course of normal congregational life and work routines. Sabbaticals are not vacations, but pathways to viewing vocations in new ways, through fresh eyes. Many people travel, experience different cultures, or learn new skills during sabbaticals.
The intent of a sabbatical is to return to a congregation renewed, refreshed, and with new insights. Rev. Alison takes her sabbatical during her seventh year of service to the Fellowship. Her goals include catching up on professional and spiritual reading, taking at least one contemplative spiritual retreat, and making stronger connections with local community and faith leaders in Athens, in addition to having time just to be (to think, reflect, and experience being, rather than doing) as a way to recharge her spiritual and professional energies.
Rev. Alison takes her sabbatical in two parts: first in August 2016, then in March through May 2017. She’ll continue her time away during June and July 2017, her contracted vacation and study leave times. During her absence the Lay Ministers will continue to have responsibility for the programmatic life of the Fellowship. Rev. Don Randall has increased pastoral care responsibilities and minimal staff oversight. Rev. Alison will communicate monthly with the congregation via the Tapestry newsletter, but will not respond to communication from the Fellowship during this sabbatical time.
If you have any questions about the sabbatical, please see Jane Mayer. For questions about programs, please contact the Lay Minister responsible for that area. And, for pastoral concerns, please contact Rev. Don.
Rev. Alison is grateful to the Fellowship for allowing her this time away. She knows it will be a productive time for both her and the Fellowship.