Clergy Renewal Leave Announcement

By May 7, 2015News

Jack Benson_150Dear Church Family,

Just prior to Dr. Tim Bruster’s appointment here as our Senior Pastor in the summer of 2003 the Staff Parish Relations Committee — recognizing that clergy renewal is very important not only for clergy, but for the congregation as well — put in place a renewal leave policy for the Senior Pastor. The policy we put in place then allows for a renewal leave every five years for the Senior Pastor. The summer of 2008 was the regularly-scheduled time for the first renewal leave, but Tim didn’t feel like either 2008 or 2009 were good times to take the leave. He finally took his first renewal leave in 2010. This summer he will take his regularly-scheduled renewal leave. In considering the timing, Tim and the Staff Parish Relations Committee felt that, with many important event and projects coming up in the life of the church, this summer is the best time for the leave.

Dr. Bruster’s renewal leave will take place during the June 10 through September 8 timeframe, with some of that time also being used for vacation and for the mission trip to Costa Rica. The members of SPRC and I are very supportive of Tim as he prepares for his clergy renewal leave. This will be a time of growth and renewal, both for Tim and for our congregation.

According to the Alban Institute — whose planning guide formed the basis of Tim’s and the SPRC’s planning — a clergy renewal leave, or sabbatical, should have a balance of four components:

  1. spiritual renewal,
  2. physical rest and refreshment,
  3. emotional recharging and
  4. intellectual stimulation.

A renewal leave is an intentional time of study, reflection, writing, and refreshment of spirit designed in a balanced way in order that the pastor may return refreshed and renewed in body, mind, and spirit and ready to lead afresh. It will serve as a time for him to receive spiritual nourishment and a change in perspective, to deepen his relationship with God, himself, and his family — a season of spiritual growth. The study component of the leave will focus on pastoral leadership, best practices in capital fundraising and stewardship, and learning a new process of journaling.

Summer is a good time to take this leave, since pastoral duties slow down a bit during the summer. During his time away, Senior Associate Pastor Reverend Linda McDermott will do most of the preaching on Sunday morning. Other members of our clergy staff will also preach during the summer months.

Please look for more information to follow in the coming weeks, including a suggested reading list for the congregation’s own renewal.

Because of the success of the program for the Senior Pastor, the Staff Parish Relations Committee created and approved a renewal leave policy for other clergy and program staff. Reverend Linda McDermott will take her renewal leave August 23 – October 17. More information will follow about her leave as that time approaches.


Jack Benson
Chair, Staff Parish Relations Committee


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