EASTERN SYNOD of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
SABBATICAL GUIDELINES for ROSTERED PERSONS OF THE EASTERN SYNOD
Moreover I gave them my Sabbath, as a sign between me and them, so that they might know that I the Lord sanctify them.
The Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying: Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: When you enter the land that I am giving you, the land shall observe a Sabbath for the Lord. Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather in their yield; but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of complete rest for the land, a Sabbath for the Lord; you shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard. You shall not reap the after growth of your harvest or gather the grapes of your unpruned vine; it shall be a year of complete rest for the land. You may eat what the land yields during its Sabbath-you, your male and female slaves, your hired and your bound labourers who live with you; for your livestock also, and for the wild animals in your land all its yield shall be for food.
And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.
Clergy are subject to many pressures and stresses which are unique to the ministry. The concept of wholeness and wellness in ministry is an important principle in the life of the church. A healthy and effective congregation requires a healthy pastor. To help promote health and wholeness in our Synod, we have developed (extended study leave) sabbatical guidelines which provide the opportunity for our rostered clergy to be refreshed bodily, socially, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, and professionally.
A sabbatical provides an opportunity for the pastor to reflect on the call to ministry and her/his relationship with God and all of God’s creation. The sabbatical is expected to be of benefit to both the pastor and the congregation/institution which she/he serves, as well as to the Synod and the wider Church. While continuing education provides regular shorter opportunities for growth in learning, a sabbatical provides not only opportunities for more in-depth learning and renewal, but also rest from labour. A sabbatical should be holistic, in that it includes time for prayer, reflection, rest, and care of the body, as well as developing gifts for ministry.