Sabbatical / Ministerial Leave Pulpit Supply
If searching for clergy to preside over a single event (wedding, funeral, etc.), please click here. Info below deals with ministers going on sabbatical or other protracted leave.
The Massachusetts Bay District and the District chapter of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association (UUMA) facilitate a program of Ministerial Leave Pulpit Supply (MLPS). Ministerial leave includes, but is not limited to, sabbatical leave, medical leave, family leave, and emergency leave.
We know that time away from the congregation is desirable and, in the case of medical and/or emergency leave, essential to ensure the health and well-being of our clergy. But, even when such leaves can be anticipated in advance, they often pose some concern to congregational leadership. Who will fill the pulpit? How will we arrange for other ministerial services? This program is designed to help.
When the leave can be anticipated and planned in advance, this program entitles your congregation to one pulpit guest for each month of approved leave. For example, for a traditional six-month sabbatical, your congregation is entitled to up to six pulpit guests.
For other types of leave – particularly medical and emergency leaves where the timing and duration cannot always be anticipated in advance – the general guideline is similar. Your congregation is eligible for pulpit supply from one ministerial colleague per month of approved leave. Of course there may be circumstances in which a congregation’s need for ministerial support is greater than the MLPS program can meet. In such cases, we encourage you to work with the District Executive to address your particular situation. Remember, however, that the MLPS program is a resource you can draw on for some pulpit supply during your minister’s absence.
The MLPS program is a reciprocal agreement among the congregations and ministers of the Mass Bay District. Every MBD congregation is automatically a participant and, thus, also a recipient of these services when needed. The program’s success depends on the commitment to participate by each MBD congregation and its minister(s) and, in exchange, a MBD congregation may receive ministerial pulpit supply at a time when the minister is away on leave.
Every congregation enrolled in this program accepts the responsibility to send its minister to supply another pulpit in the Mass Bay District no more than once each year. The congregation willingly commits the time (not the time off) of its minister to serve in this way with the understanding that the program is designed to work both ways.
The spirit of the program is “to serve and be served.” Experience shows that the availability to serve is often greater than the need. Thus, each MBD congregation receives credit for the year whether or not you were asked to loan us your minister to preach somewhere else. However, it is possible that we will have last-minute requests and you may receive a request to serve if we do.
Please inform the program coordinator, Rev. Katie Lee Crane, revktlee [at] gmail [dot] com or 978-440-8428, of a planned ministerial leave as far in advance as possible. In the case of sabbatical leave, we prefer one year’s advance notice if at all possible.
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