Wheat Ridge Ministries of Itasca, Ill., is awarding grants totaling $46,000 to support sabbatical experiences for professional church workers from nine congregations, including four from The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.
According to Wheat Ridge, “sabbatical leave for rest and renewal is a significant way that congregations can support and encourage the health and wellness of church leaders.” The program is being implemented as a pilot project.
The four Synod congregations are Bethany Lutheran Church, Fairview Heights, Ill.; Mount Calvary Lutheran Church, Milwaukee, Wis.; Our Savior Lutheran Church, Carol Stream, Ill.; and Redeemer Lutheran Church, Rochester, Minn.
Brian Becker, vice president for ministry programs at Wheat Ridge, says that providing the grants is valuable for both the person taking the sabbatical and the congregation. Those receiving sabbatical grants “hopefully will return rested, rejuvenated, and ready to re-engage in their ministry. It’s also our hope that during the sabbatical experience the congregation will engage in serious reflection and planning about how to strengthen their ministry.”
The grants may be used by congregations for salary, benefits, and expenses for interim staff during the sabbatical period, and travel and education expenses for the sabbatical experience. The grants may not be used for general congregation operating expenses, purchase of equipment, or any other expenses unrelated to the sabbatical plan.
For information on developing a congregational sabbatical policy and on Wheat Ridge’s sabbatical grants, visit its Sabbatical Resource Center at www.wheatridge.org/sabbaticals or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted April 15, 2009