Sabbatical Plans

From April 1, 2024 – June 30, 2024, Reverend Rachael Hayes will be on sabbatical leave.  A sabbatical is a time when Rev. Rachael will step away from her usual responsibilities to the UUSA and take time for rest and rejuvenation, study, and discernment.  


In UU congregations, it is traditional for ministers to take sabbatical leave every 4 to 7 years.  This opportunity was part of the contract we offered to Rev. Rachael when she was invited to join us. 

Reverend Rachael’s contract includes the following provision: 

4.12 Sabbatical Leave

4.12.1  The minister may use sabbatical leave for study, education, writing, meditation, and other forms of professional, religious, spiritual, or personal growth.  Sabbatical leave accrues at the rate of one month per year of service, with leave to be taken after four but before seven years of service.  No more than six months of sabbatical leave may be used within any twelve-month period.  The dates of the proposed extended sabbatical (more than three months) should be submitted to the Board for approval at least 12 months in advance.  For sabbaticals of three months or less, dates should be submitted at least 4 months in advance.  Study Leave and Vacation still accrues during a sabbatical year but should be taken at another time during the year unless authorized by the Board.

4.12.2 The Congregation will continue full salary, housing allowance, and benefits during sabbatical leave.  Professional expenses, if used for sabbatical travel, are subject to IRS Regulations. 

4.12.3 In the event of the Minister’s resignation, termination, or retirement, unused sabbatical leave is not compensable. 

4.12.4 The Minister agrees not to resign from service to the Congregation for a minimum of one year following the end of each sabbatical leave. The Congregation agrees to take no action on ministerial tenure during a sabbatical leave except for extreme and unexpected circumstances and only after consultation with the UUA Transitions Director. 

In Rev. Rachael’s absence, our own DRE, members of the Worship Associate Collaborative, our Administrative Assistant, and leaders will be stepping up to ensure that things run smoothly. Worship services, pastoral care, religious education programming, and all the activities of our community will continue as usual.

This is also an opportunity for the congregation to contemplate who we are and who we want to be in the world. One aspect of this will be our collective work to clarify and affirm our purpose as a congregation.  

What is a Ministerial Sabbatical 

Sabbatical leave is a time away from the day-to-day duties of being minister, to give time for study, education, writing, meditation, and other forms of professional, religious, spiritual, or personal growth. The minister will decide how the time is used.   The ministerial sabbatical isn’t just for the minister alone. This period of time is an opportunity for the congregation to reflect and discern together, recognizing the work of the congregational community extends far beyond that of a single minister.  Within the Unitarian Universalist tradition, sabbaticals are common for ministers and are often detailed in their employment contracts, as is for Rev. Rachael. 

Sabbatical Committee

A Sabbatical Committee will be comprised of board members with Jeff Clark as chair, supported by Lea Douville. The role of the committee is to help the congregation understand the purpose of sabbatical, to coordinate the beginning and end of Rev. Rachael’s sabbatical, to support the ongoing work of the Worship Collaborative and pastoral care team in the minister’s absence, and to serve as resource to congregational leaders.

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