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To the Parish of St. Augustine of Canterbury, Diocese of Edmonton, Alberta.
All Saints 2019

Dear friends, I am writing to inform you that I have been approved by our bishop for sabbatical time in this upcoming 2020 year.  I will be on sabbatical a week or so after our Easter celebration through till July, and taking family vacation after that.  Clergy are eligible every 7 years to apply for this program which is both a resting time and a learning time.  I am attaching the proposal that I brought to bishop Jane so you can see what I will be up to and especially the “why now” section at the beginning. For the sake of clarity I will add to the proposal the following questions and answers:

·         Is this a transition out of St. Augustines?
No. I am not actively discerning to move on from St. Augustine’s – I feel we are a good fit for the time being!  I actually believe that taking a sabbatical break is a very mutually beneficial thing for both clergy and parish!

·         What is the financial impact to the parish?
Our diocesan sabbatical program is set up to keep the finances “business as usual.”  Parish funds are used for only 75% of my income during sabbatical, and diocesan funds are used for the other 25%.  This leaves funds for a ¼ time position within the parish – roughly equivalent to paying clergy for Sunday coverage according to diocesan schedules.

·         Who will be filling in the things that you do at St. Augustine’s? Often what happens is there is a retired priest or theological student who is chosen (by parish and bishop together) to cover Sundays.  However, I am really open, and I think bishop Jane would be too, if there was a creative way we saw of taking this time not as just “maintaining” or holding space, but taking it as a chance for growth!  What gifts and skills do you think we need in such a person?  What activities do you hope could happen?  Please let me know if you have ideas! Whoever ends up coming, it will be high on my priority list to make it as smooth a transition as possible.

·         Are you going away somewhere? Not exactly, the work I will be doing is local, and it will be mostly day trips.  I intend to include some learning within the sabbatical and may go away for some of that.

·         Will Megan be off during this time?
No, our music director will remain as she is!

·         Your proposal includes some implications for parish life, will this be coming back to st. Augustine’s?
The sabbatical work will be a research phase of learning and opening a conversation on these topics.  It is a very different conversation about how my learnings will be implemented and shared in the parish.  It will be something we do together.

Since we are still in early reflection on this, I would really value hearing any further questions, concerns, thoughts, and feelings that might rise up for you.

Our visioning group has already flagged that we will need some help on tech support items that I do, please consider if you can help out in that way.

My Sabbatical proposal is attached below for your information.