Sabbaticals are a required part of a minister or deacon’s performance of his or her duties and can be extremely beneficial both for the individual minister and for the health of the wider Church and can significantly enhance the ministry of the whole people of God.
For Methodist presbyters and deacons, a sabbatical is a three-month period of release from ordinary ministerial duties, in addition to normal holidays, for the purpose of pursuing an approved programme of study, research, work or experience. It is intended as a time for re-equipping, refreshment and renewal.
All presbyters and deacons in Full Connexion and stationed in an appointment within the control of the Church are expected to take a regular sabbatical. The years in which sabbaticals may be taken are normally every seventh year of travel as a minister.
The District Sabbaticals Committee meets twice a year to consider a prospectus and a post-sabbatical report from each participant. Recent sabbaticals have included activities as diverse as studies into leadership styles, Maori spirituality, the role of faith in fantasy and sci-fi gaming, pilgrimages or just enjoying catching up on gardening and reading.
The value of time away is evident in the reports as is the importance of detailed forward planning by all concerned.
Connexional guidance can be found here.