M&P Report – Sabbatical Plan

Report accepted at Official Board Meeting 29 May 2013, Kilsyth




MAY 29, 2013 

SABBITICAL PLAN – Deborah McKellar

A Sabbatical Team consisting of Julia Lobsinger, Chair, Ministry & Personnel Committee, Isabel Hewitson, Susan McCartney, Michael Latimer, Chair, Official Board and Mary Louise Twinning provided input to this plan.

It is the policy of the United Church of Canada that every Pastoral Charge provides a paid sabbatical of at least three (3) months to those in paid accountable ministry who have completed at least five (5) years of service in one call or appointment (Gen Council 2003, Petition 131).

The Sabbatical is in addition to the minister’s vacation time and regular study leave for the year in which the sabbatical is taken. Sabbatical Leave may be taken in conjunction with vacation time, continuing education and additional unpaid leave of absence.

Provision for a sabbatical is included in the terms of the call or appointment.

The essence of sabbatical is rooted in the practice of the Sabbath day as described in the story of creation. Jesus kept the practice when he took time in his ministry for renewal. He often went away to pray and reflect in silence and meditation on mountaintops and lakesides.

The daily practice of ministry may involve the pressures 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. It is, therefore, personal and individual in nature. It may include study, spiritual retreat, rest and will probably be a blend of all of them.

When ministry personnel take a sabbatical, congregations benefit from the opportunity to reflect on their mission and ministry and experience different gifts of lay leadership. The sabbatical offers the congregation a minister who returns with new energy and clarity about the tasks at hand.

Deborah McKellar will complete five (5) years of continual service to the Kilsyth, Keady North Derby Pastoral Charge as of June 30, 2013.

At the Official Board meeting Sept 25, 2012, the M&P Committee started the dialogue regarding sabbatical by relating the information regarding sabbatical printed in “The Manual, 2010”.

November 28, 2012, the M&P Committee notified the Official Board that Deborah had requested a sabbatical leave beginning June 1, 2014. The request was accompanied by a preliminary plan.

  • To pursue through reading, reflection, spiritual direction and the practice of spiritual discipline, both personally and in community, a deeper and broader understanding of spirituality and spiritual formation, especially form the Christian perspective.
  • To discern the learning from her personal pursuit, that can be brought back to our congregation with a goal to deepening our shared ministry, in faith and spiritual formation (small group ministry) and in our communal worship and liturgical life.
  • To take the sabbatical during a part of the year when church life is slower and there are more resources or circumstances available to mitigate the financial cost and pressures on the Pastoral Charge.

Deborah will submit a detailed proposal at least three (3) months before the sabbatical begins. This proposal will outline her plans during the period of renewal. Including the nature of the study or experience being proposed and the goals of the sabbatical, which will be related to the practice of ministry. While a plan is essential to the sabbatical, the sabbatical should not be so tightly structured that the spirit has no freedom to lead or reveal. This plan will be approved by the M&P committee and reported to the Official Board.

After the sabbatical, Deborah will provide a brief written and oral report to the M&P Committee and Official Board.

The Pastoral Relationship between Deborah and the Kilsyth, Keady North Derby Pastoral Charge is expected to continue for at least a year following the sabbatical.

During the sabbatical the KKND Pastoral Charge will pay Deborah her regular salary and housing allowance and make the regular payments to the United Church of Canada Health and Pension plan, the Employee Assistance plan, Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance, as of the day before the start of the sabbatical leave. Because Deborah normally receives travel expense reimbursement, she will receive an income supplement of 40% of the average travel claim based on the six (6) months before the sabbatical. It is to be paid monthly and declared by the Pastoral Charge as taxable income.

The Official Board, KKND Pastoral Charge, will notify Presbytery at least six (6) months prior to the beginning of Deborah’s sabbatical.

The combined Sessions of the three churches will make the decisions regarding pastoral care coverage for the four months that Deborah will be on leave.

The official Board will be responsible for seeking and applying for funding for the pastoral care coverage required. The funding is available from the United Church of Canada, Northern Waters Presbytery and the Presbyteries of Toronto Conference Corporation (PTCC)