Sabbatical leave is a period of planned time of intensive enhancement for ministry and mission. It is not vacation, but a renewal period for a cleric’s sense of vocation. A balanced renewal program includes opportunities for exploration, reflection, rest, and recreation. A well-designed sabbatical enables the strengthening or even re-discovery of enthusiasm and creativity in ministry.
As God’s people, we recognize Sabbath as a vital part of the regular rhythm of our individual and common lives. Both Genesis 1:1–2:4 and the Ten Commandments attest that God gave us the gift of the 7th day as a day of rest to enjoy what God has made. The idea of periodic rest was also given to the land when God commanded the Israelites to refrain from planting every 7th year so the land could lie fallow (Leviticus 25:1–5). This also gave the Israelites themselves rest through refraining from farming. That rest is necessary for the land to be abundant again.
To assist clergy and congregations to allow clergy a period of sabbatical, the Diocese of New Jersey established a sabbatical grant fund several years ago. To be eligible to apply for a grant from the Diocesan Sabbatical Fund, a priest must be canonically resident in the Diocese of New Jersey or have been licensed to serve and actively serving in this diocese for five or more years as of October, 31, 2022, and have never before been on sabbatical.
Sabbatical grant applications are due by Sept. 30, but the Clergy Sabbatical Fund Committee requests that applicants fully review the fund policy linked below and also email the committee to engage in prayerful discussion. Taking this steps will help the grant process go much more smoothly.