Ah, a classic writing prompt for the back to school season, and also appropriate for me this year as I’ve been away from OUUC for the last two months. I was taking part one of a sabbatical (part two will be this winter). A sabbatical (from the same root as “sabbath”, another time of rest) is a planned time of paid leave for study, research, travel, and rest.

This sabbatical has corresponded with my study at the Chaplaincy Institute (ChI) as I seek to be ordained as an Interfaith Chaplain and certified as a Spiritual Director. The chaplaincy program at ChI is a 1-3 year program, depending on how compressed a schedule the student can manage. I’ve been on a two year trajectory, taking some study leave from OUUC to attend a class every few months. I now have just two more classes to go!

But classwork is only one part of the ordination requirements at ChI, so I also need to manage and find time for a study of a secondary faith tradition (one more beyond your primary faith affiliation, which for me is UU), a 400 hour practicum or internship, and a “core competency review”. Much of this work has been what filled my summer sabbatical.

For my secondary faith tradition, I am studying Buddhism and attending classes at Tushita Kadampa Buddhist Center. And for my practicum I was approved to do an independent supervised project to create a program for personal and spiritual resiliency in the face of climate and other change. I’ve named this the 12 Movements of Resiliency and I’ll be bringing this program to OUUC this fall as a class. And, finally, I have finished writing up the self evaluation of my core competencies and they are ready to send in for review by an ordination review panel.

Having some time away to focus on this work has been lovely. I deeply appreciate the support for professional development that I’ve received for the entirety of my 13 year service here. I felt called to chaplaincy not so I’d go somewhere else for ministry but rather so I could go deeper in my ministry here with all of you. After completing all the professional development of a UU Religious Educator, this was the next step of professional and personal growth for me.

Thank you all for the encouragement, support, and love that I have received. I feel so blessed to be answering my call and doing ministry here with all of you.