Pastor’s Sabbatical

As most of you know, Rev. Anne Russ, will be taking sabbatical following Easter this year.  If you missed the annual meeting presentation, everything you need to know is right here. And of course, if you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Anne or our Sabbatical Transition time, Martin Kasten and Kimberly Roth.

What is Sabbatical?

The word sabbatical has its roots in the biblical concept of Sabbath. Sabbath keeping is setting aside time that God consecrates or makes holy.

Sabbatical is a time for our pastor to shift gears in order to rest, disengage, study, reflect and travel in order to return to ministry among us refreshed and renewed in body, mind and spirit.  (It is not a time for routine work, career assessment, job search or retirement planning).

The Presbytery of Arkansas strongly encourages that terms of call for any full-time pastor include a sabbatical break during or directly after seven years of service. Anne begins her seventh year with us in October.

Sabbatical is more than a vacation from meetings, budgets, sermons and people in need. It’s a time for Anne to receive spiritual nourishment and a change in perspective, to deepen her relationship with God, herself and her family—a season of spiritual growth.

Why Does Our Pastor Need a Sabbatical? 

How Long will Anne be Gone?

Anne will depart following Easter Sunday, March 27 of this year. We will welcome her back on Sunday, July 9 (just in time for Bible school!), for a total of 15 weeks of sabbatical.

How do We Know She’ll Come Back?

It is policy of the Presbytery of Arkansas that ministers going a sabbatical make a covenant to return and serve, at minimum, one year following the sabbatical.

Who will pay for the sabbatical?

The church applied for a Lily Foundation Grant to cover Anne’s plan of study as well as the cost to the church for a part-time replacement. Alas, we were not awarded the grant.  Anne will continue to receive her salary and benefits while on sabbatical, but any additional cost of study and travel beyond her regular continuing education allowance will have to be borne by her and her family.

Will this increase our budget?

The church has budgeted $5000 to hire an ordained clergy to fill in certain roles while Anne is away.

What will Anne be doing?

While much of the sabbatical is about rest and time with family, Anne will also be working on discerning a link between physical discipline and spiritual discipline and how each informs the other.

Who will lead worship?

A combination of our music leader, interim pastor and church members.

Who do I call for a prayer request or pastoral care?

You can call Kay in the church office and she will refer it to the interim or church members who are ready to help.

Will the church just be in a holding pattern until Anne returns?

All of our ministries will continue to flourish while Anne is away, and perhaps new ones will even be formed. We need to remember that a sabbatical is a two-way process; while Anne is on her journey of renewal, refreshment and reflection, we will embark on a journey as well—to renew ourselves and discern God’s plan for our particular group of believers. The new visioning team and the session will continue to meet and to lead during Anne’s absence.

Will Anne be in contact with First Pres Argenta during her sabbatical?

An important part of a sabbatical is to make a complete break from things. In extraordinary circumstances, a member of sabbatical planning team will reach out to Anne.

How can I help?

The session has approved Martin Kasten and Kimberly Roth as the team to coordinate who will be leading various ministries in Anne’s absence. Please talk with them about what you are feeling called to do or simply what needs to be done.

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