During the past three years of the pandemic, we have seen pastors work long hours, with many experiencing burnout and leaving their call or leaving the occupation entirely. The ELCA and the Metropolitan Synod of Chicago recommend that congregations offer sabbaticals to their pastors every five years so they might return to their duties with renewed energy and enthusiasm. This is a dual commitment: the church supports the pastor by providing a sabbatical, while the pastor commits to at least two years with the congregation after returning from the sabbatical.
As many of you may recall from the Congregational Meeting in January, the Church Council announced that Pastor Lindsay will begin a sabbatical leave after the May 7 services that runs through Sunday, September 3. Many also may be wondering what a sabbatical is and how it benefits everyone involved.
Sabbaticals allow pastors to take time off from preaching, teaching, and other church responsibilities and instead focus on personal and professional growth, spiritual reflection, and rejuvenation. Some pastors may use this time to travel, attend conferences, or take classes. Others may spend time with their families, volunteer, or rest and recharge. Pastor Lindsay's sabbatical can also be a valuable time for the congregation. It allows church members to step up, take on additional leadership roles, and find creative solutions together.
Below are some answers to questions you may have regarding her sabbatical. If you have other questions, we welcome them at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
A sabbatical is a period of extended leave pastors and other church leaders take to pursue further education, personal growth, or rest and renewal. This is a common and encouraged aspect of the church to help people called to service in the church to take extended time away to prevent burnout and pursue educational opportunities not normally possible during daily work schedules.
Pastor Lindsay will start her sabbatical after the May 7 service and return on Rally Day in September.
LMC's Council has been working with church staff to ensure programs and functions continue during Pastor's time away. The church is also working with the Metro Chicago Synod (our ELCA synod), Kevin Massey and Phil Hirsch to provide pastoral care and preside over Sunday services.
During the January congregational meeting, the church approved the 2023 budget with funding to provide for Pastor's time away. This includes a pulpit supply fund for other pastors to come and speak as well as provide assistance during times of personal emergencies, funerals, and other pastoral needs.
During this time, Pastor Lindsay is to be in a time of rest and renewal. The hardest part for many congregants is providing the space she needs to rest and not be connected to the church. Please respect her privacy during this time by refraining from contacting her. This includes reaching out to her, inviting her and her family to functions or events, or trying to connect in ways that disrupts the time away. But there are other ways to support her, specifically through prayer. Prayers are appreciated for the rest and restorative care that she needs during her time away, for her family, for her continued growth, that she feels the support of the church, and for a safe return to LMC in September.
LMC is fortunate to have two interns (Sarah Swagler and Christopher Drummond) who are trained and willing to help out with pastoral needs. If you are unsure if you should contact Christopher Drummond or Sarah Swagler, contact the LMC office and we'll be able to help you reach the right person.