On Easter Monday, Dan will be starting ‘Extended Study Leave’. Here he explains why …
Clergy are encouraged to have some extended time out every 7 to 10 years. I’ll have been ordained 19 years by this summer, and have been in Shirley for 7 years – and yet I’ve never had opportunity for such a break from ministry.
In days gone by, ‘sabbatical’ was the phrase used rather than ‘Extended Study Leave’ – picking up on the biblical idea of Sabbath.
My three months of time out from the parish will include both elements. As sabbatical, I hope it will be a chance for some spiritual renewal and refreshment. I’ll go on a retreat and read some books.
A sabbatical is supposed to include time for rest as well – I’m looking forward to being able to go away at the weekend (something I can’t often do!) to visit friends elsewhere.
As a family, we’ve booked to visit some missionary friends in Lebanon for 3 weeks during the schools holidays. That will be an amazing trip for us all - experiencing a different culture and seeing what it looks like to follow Jesus in the midst of Syrian refugees and Lebanese locals.
My 3 months will have a ‘study’ element as well – I’m going to be researching and trying to write another book. Whether anything actually comes to print remains to be seen, but it’s an idea I’ve had in mind for years, and it seems like a good opportunity to give it a go.
What will happen here in Shirley? I’ve every confidence in the staff and wardens to carry on leading our church in my absence – I’m looking forward to hearing what God does once I’m out of the way!
“I’m looking forward to hearing what God does once I’m out of the way!”