Sabbatical 2017

Rev Ken SaundersIn collaboration with the Wardens and Vestry, Fr. Ken is planning a sabbatical for the summer of 2017.  The “Frequently Asked Questions” below provide some answers to help you be informed:

What is a sabbatical?
The word sabbatical has its roots in the biblical concept of Sabbath (meaning “to rest” or “to cease”). Sabbath keeping is purposely setting aside time that God consecrates and makes holy, as God did on the seventh day. (Genesis 2:3)

Sabbatical leave is a time for pastors 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. (Note: It is NOT a time for routine work, mid-career assessment, job search, retirement planning, or terminal leave.)

Ken’s letter of agreement with Trinity specifies that he will take a sabbatical every three to six years.  In May of 2017, Ken began his seventh year serving with us.

PriestA sabbatical is more than a vacation from meetings, budgets, sermons, and people in need.  It is a time for Ken 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.

Do other clergy go on sabbatical?
Yes. Indeed, Bishop Sutton requires congregations in our diocese to provide full-time priests with regular sabbatical leave. In Trinity’s agreement with Ken, he earns 2 weeks of sabbatical leave every year of service.

How long will Ken be gone?
Ken will leave on June 15, 2017, and return on September 15, 2017.  His first Sunday back will be September 17, 2017.  He will be gone approximately 12 weeks.

Ken SaundersWhat will Ken be doing on his sabbatical?
Ken is currently discerning a plan for his sabbatical that includes a Pilgrimage across the United States via motorcycle. He has entitled it: A Pilgrimage of Discovery and Renewal: An Episcopal Priest’s Journey by a Road Less Traveled. In the context of this pilgrimage he will spend time in quiet retreat and study of Holy Scripture, and visit different churches and reflect on points of interest with regard to church development. He will also engage in a study of the Spanish language.

Who will cover Ken’s responsibilities during his absence?
The Rev. Liz Masterson will be our priest during sabbatical.  While Ken is away, Liz will assume pastoral and liturgical responsibilities, with the help of the vestry and staff.

 Who do I call if I have a family or personal crisis?
The Rev. Liz Masterson and our deacon, the Rev. Bob Runkle will be available to provide pastoral counsel, to visit the sick and homebound, and to plan for weddings and funerals as needed. Liz and Bob will also utilize our many lay leaders who exercise ministry at Trinity.

Who will pay for the sabbatical?
JourneyThe sabbatical should be a shared expense between the clergy and the parish with planning done well in advance and monies set aside each year to cover expenses. Trinity is blessed to have the Margaret Baer Fund that is an investment to assist with clergy coverage during sabbaticals. Ken has set up a GoFundMe page – to assist with funding the pilgrimage. Ken will fund any personal and special activities himself, and will continue to receive his salary from Trinity during the sabbatical.

Will the parish budget incur any additional expenses for the sabbatical?

Who will administer the parish in Ken’s absence?
Our Senior and Junior Wardens will work closely with the Rev. Liz Masterson and the parish staff to oversee general operations, finances, use of the parish facilities, and other ministries and activities.

 What if a question/concern arises while Ken is gone?
The vestry will exercise authority to resolve all issues concerning parish life.

Will the church just be in a “holding pattern” while Ken is away?
All of our ministries will continue to flourish while Ken is away, and perhaps new ones will be formed. Also, it is important to remember that the sabbatical is a two-way process: while Ken is on his journey of renewal, refreshment, and reflection, we will embark on a journey as well. Ken will provide us with ways that we can join him in his studies for the benefit of our mutual ministry.

Will Ken be in contact with Trinity during his sabbatical?
An important part of a sabbatical is to make a complete break from things. In the unlikely event that some extraordinary news absolutely must be communicated to Ken, the Senior Warden will be able to notify him. If, for some reason (i.e. Kelly’s health), Ken should need to cut his sabbatical short, then he will return and resume his duties. Depending on how long he is gone, the details of the leave will be worked out with the vestry.

Ken and Kelly SaundersWill we be able to follow Ken on his journey?
Ken has set up a blog called Grounded Theology that he will use for reflections, stories, pictures, and video so that the congregation can follow him on his journey. The website is located at He will also be posting to his page on Facebook,

Will Ken’s family go with him?
The dates of Ken’s sabbatical begin while Kelly continues to work her job. This will allow Ken some alone time for individual study and prayer. Toward the end of his journey, Kelly will be able to join him so that they can focus on and enjoy family.

How will we get “reacquainted” when Ken returns?
Ken’s first Sunday back will include a brief “welcome back” liturgy during worship. Upon his return, there will be an opportunity for the sharing of experiences (both Ken’s and the congregation’s), as well as some evaluation.