Read Rev. Dr. Michael Caveney’s Blog:
In 2006, the United Church of Canada, determined that every 5 years, Ministers are
entitled to a sabbatical — a period of at least 3 consecutive months, that are
intentionally set aside, away from the congregation, for study, rest, spiritual
development, prayer, recreation and revitalization. It is a critical time needed for
reflection, recovery and renewal of vital energies. Interestingly enough, we find that
Jesus, within his Jewish tradition took sabbaticals. There are a number of places in
the New Testament especially in Matthew and Luke that talk about times when Jesus
would withdraw from the crowds, to deserted places and pray.
Ministers and congregations are encouraged to add annual vacation and study leave
time, and any time that has been carried forward from previous years, wherever
possible to the sabbatical time. For Michael, this means that he will be away from
ministerial leadership at KUC for 6 months. Toward the end of the sabbatical time we
may see Michael worshiping with us. At the end of the Sabbatical, Michael will have
used all of his vacation and study leave time from last year and for 2024.
While our Ministers are on sabbatical, they receive their usual remuneration and
benefits. When sabbaticals became an entitlement for clergy, KUC started a
sabbatical fund to cover any additional costs for the sabbatical.
In planning a sabbatical, the best timing for the sabbatical is worked out with the
Minister and the pastoral charge. Timing of when a sabbatical will start can range
from 4 ¼ to 6 years that the Minister has been in the Pastoral Charge. It is very much
dependent on the what the Minister has planned for sabbatical and when it is
available. The timing for Michael’s sabbatical was initially related to a specific
Developing World Connections Project in India scheduled to start February 2024. It
was also determined that waiting for September to start the sabbatical was not a good
time for our Lead Minister to start a long sabbatical. When the Developing World’s
Connection Project was cancelled in October 2023, it was decided to keep the timing
of the Michael’s sabbatical as it had been planned. As a result, Michael’s sabbatical
will start on Feb 1, 2024, before he has been at KUC for 5 years. This time will be
made up when he returns from his Sabbatical.
For us, Michael’s sabbatical is a time to look at ways we can support Andrew while
Michael is away. Also, to increase our opportunities for lay ministry and leadership,
and to follow along with Michael’s sabbatical providing him with support and
encouragement for his journey. Michael has organized a blog that will be available to
all of us to follow along as we are able to do so.
Karen McClelland, Chair, Ministry and Personnel Committee