Wheat Ridge Ministries of Itasca, Ill., is awarding grants totaling $73,844 to support sabbatical experiences for professional church workers from 14 congregations, including three 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 three Synod congregations are Faith Lutheran Church, St. Robert, Mo.; Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, Garden City, N.Y.; and Trinity Lutheran Church, Ithaca, N.Y.
Brian Becker, vice president of ministry programs at Wheat Ridge, says that providing the grants is important for two reasons: first, because full-time church work is one of the “most stressful vocations today,” and second, because sabbaticals provide a “critical time and place that can re-energize both the leader and the congregation.
“It’s our hope that this pilot program will encourage all Lutheran congregations to adopt an effective sabbatical policy. These grants make it affordable for the congregation and the results strengthen ministry,” he added.
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.
Posted March 6, 2008