A new centralised system of funding for sabbatical leave is to be implemented to ensure that our clergy are well-cared for, and have appropriate Biblical rhythms of rest, work, renewal, and growth. A motion was passed at Synod to implement this new system under Standing Resolution B12 – which was previously entitled Professional Development, and is now entitled Sabbatical Leave.
Archdeacon Stuart Goodin stood to move Motion 8 and told Synod that Jesus himself prioritised times of rest and prayer; he “was never always on.” However, he told us, that as a diocese, we are not good at implementing such rhythms of rest and renewal consistently, as Jesus did. Some parishes make provision for sabbaticals, and some don’t – which means that a large number of our clergy have never taken a sabbatical or are overdue for one, leading to an increased likelihood of burnout.
“It’s a shame to legislate,” Stuart told us, “but expectations are not clear and the current approach is not working.” However, from now on, the expectation that all clergy will have sabbaticals is clear. Under the Standing Resolution, parishes will be required to pay a percentage of their stipends into a centralised fund managed by the Anglican Centre, and as the seventh year of a clergy member’s ministry approaches, the parish Vestry will be required to develop and implement a plan for the clergy member’s sabbatical leave in consultation with the Archdeacon. The person taking the sabbatical will be paid their normal stipend, and payments will then be made to the parish to allow for locum cover.
These provisions will also apply to Lay Ministers in Charge.