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What is a Sabbatical? 

The word sabbatical has its roots in the biblical concept of Sabbath (“to rest” or “to cease”). Sabbath keeping is setting aside time that God consecrates and makes holy. 

Sabbatical leave is a time for our pastor to shift gears in order to rest, disengage, study, reflect, and travel in order to return to minister among us refreshed and renewed in body, mind and spirit. It is not a time for routine work, mid-career assessment, job search, retirement planning, or terminal leave. Rev. Ross' letter of agreement with our church specifies that he may take a sabbatical after six years of his service at Unity of Sacramento . Rev. Ross has completed 11 years of service on April 21, 2021. 

Sabbatical is more than a vacation from meetings, budgets, sermons, and people in need. It is a time for Rev. Ross to receive spiritual nourishment and a change in perspective, to deepen his relationship with God, himself, and his family---a season of spiritual growth. This special time will also be a season of growth for the entire congregation. 

 

Why do ministers go on Sabbatical? 

  • The very nature of being an effective pastor involves continual spiritual growth. Spiritual depth does not happen by accident; it takes hard intentional work. Trying to do this while working is nearly impossible. Congregations need to provide opportunities for their ministers to get away for extended periods of time dedicated to spiritual development.
  • Without renewal there is a stronger chance that the clergy will, over time, burn out. It has been documented that people in the helping professions tend to burn out the fastest; in part because the constant intimate involvement with the emotional weight of other people’s lives can be draining.
  • Another lethal effect of burn out is that it makes a minister dull, hollow, and uninterestng.
  • Pastors are rarely afforded the luxury of having two consecutive days off every week like many laypeople enjoy.

Do other clergy go on Sabbatical? 

A growing number of clergy are taking sabbaticals. In fact, it is common in most denominations. Indeed, Unity Worldwide Ministries has strongly encouraged congregations to provide our pastors with regular sabbatical leaves every five years. 

 

How long will Rev. Ross be gone? 

Rev. Ross’ leave will be coordinated with Unity of Sacramento’s Board of Trustees and Executive Team. The amount of time will be 90 days, from June 1, 2021 to August 31, 2021.

 

What can I do to support Rev. Ross while he is on Sabbatical?
Continue to support the church, the speakers, the programs, our Beloved community and, most of all, your own spiritual growth. 

  • Please honor the time of renewal, rest, and reflection for Rev. Ross. There are plenty of qualified people who will be able to meet your needs while he is taking his time of renewal. Just call the office at 916-368-3950.
  • Remember to keep Rev. Ross and his family in your thoughts and prayers while he is away, especially on Sunday mornings.

Each and every Sunday morning Rev. Ross will set aside time to be in prayer with Unity of Sacramento during our worship celebrations. Also, each Sunday service online will include a special inspirational video messages from speakers across the country and beyond who are in support of Rev. Kev's sabbatical, and who will encourage you through your Spiritual journey.

What will Rev. Ross be doing on his Sabbatical?
Rev. Ross will be reading, writing, fasting, resting, and visiting family and friends outside of Sacramento. He will spend time doing spiritual renewal work -- retreating for his physical, emotional and spiritual wellness. He will also spend time researching and writing. Mostly, he will be "recharging his spiritual batteries."

Who will cover Rev. Ross’ responsibilities during his absence?
We are so blessed to have our Senior Associate Minister of Operations, Rev. Eric Ovid Donaldson, and our outstanding Executive Team, along with our capable administrative staff. The church will continue to operate in a way that meets personal needs and assists with the transformation of lives. Here are some examples of the role they will play and the responsibilities they will hold: 

Rev. Eric Ovid Donaldson will run the day to day operations of the ministry, along with handling Rev. Ross' pastoral duties. He will also host the Sunday messages. Each and every Sunday will be an inspiring and informative lesson, and of course, our music will still be under the direction of Rev. Charles Cooper, Jr., our Music Director.

Suhir Bruce, Assistant to the Senior Minister/CEO will handle all pertinent business pertaining to Rev. Ross' office. She will manage any and all correspondence, messages, and scheduling for Rev. Ross’ administrative functions. This is an excellent place to begin when you have a need or a request. She will also serve as a liaison between Rev. Ross' office and the Executive team. Please email her at sbruce@unityofsacramento.com

Who will I call to plan a special service?
Rev. Donaldson will be available to conduct and officiate weddings, memorial services, spiritual baptisms and christenings. (Some may be virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.)

Who should I contact for special prayer requests?
Please email the office at office@unityofsacramento.com for special prayer requests. Rev. Eric Ovid Donaldson along with a group of specially selected prayer personnel will pray for you and your concerns. 
You may also receive a phone call from one of these individuals, who will ask for your permission to pray with with you.  Prayer will be given to all written prayer requests before they are forwarded to Silent Unity, where they will remain in the prayer consciousness for another 30 days. It is an honor to pray with you.


Who do I call if I have a family or personal crisis?
If you would like to alert Rev. Donaldson of a family or personal crisis, please email him at reveric@unityofsacramento.com so that we can be of greater service to you. Rev. Donaldson will respond to each request within 24 hours.  Rev. Donaldson will also be available for spiritual counseling, and if necessary can assist in directing you to appropriate qualified professionals in the wider community. There is also a resource folder is available through the Unity of Sacramento App. 

 

Who will pay for the sabbatical? 

While away, Rev. Ross will be paid his normal salary. The Board has been planning this event and it has been budgeted to cover the expenses of Rev. Ross' duties while he is gone. 

 

Will the church budget need to be increased to cover any expenses? 

No. Fundraisers are in place to cover expenses related to this sabbatical. The church budget may need to be increased, but not because of the sabbatical. 

 

Will the church just be in a “holding pattern” while Rev. Ross is away? 

No, while Rev. Ross is away, Unity of Sacramento will present, “An Explosion of Truth and Light,” featuring a Sabbatical Signature Speaker Series consisting of some of the finest ministers and thought leaders from across the country and beyond. Also, it is important to remember that the sabbatical is a two-way process: while Rev. Ross is on his journey of renewal, refreshment, and reflection, we will embark on a journey as well, expressing in faith, our basic principles and our core values. 

 

Will Rev. Ross be in contact with Unity of Sacramento during his sabbatical?
An important part of a sabbatical is to make a complete break from things. The only people who will be in direct contact with Rev. Ross while he is away will be his family and Rev. Donaldson in the event of an emergency. 

 

How will we get “reacquainted” when Rev. Ross returns?
Rev. Ross' first Sunday back will include a “Reunion Sunday,” that will give us all an opportunity to participate in Rev. Ross’ return.

 

How can I learn more about the sabbatical? 

Rev. Donaldson or any Board member will be happy to answer questions that you may have concerning Rev. Ross' sabbatical.