Planning for Dee’s Sabbatical


As printed in the September 2010 issue of Echoes:

Our Pastor, Dee Cooper, as part of her call that Church of the Hills extended to her in 2006, has her first ever sabbatical time coming up in the summer of 2011. The purpose and focus of her sabbatical time will be Therapeutic Play, focusing on studying the impact and essentialness of play with animals. Dee will extensively develop this theme in later issues of Echoes, Friday Features, and from the pulpit. In the meantime, this article will inform you as to what is being done to prepare for Dee’s sabbatical. The Personnel Team appointed a subcommittee, known as the Sabbatical Team, to assist and support Dee as she prepares for her time away. 

Since January the Sabbatical Team has been working behind the scenes in preparation for Dee’s sabbatical. Dee has applied for a grant from the Lilly Foundation to provide funding for her sabbatical. The Team acted as a sounding board for Dee as she formulated her plan and assembled all of the necessary information that had to be submitted with the application. Members of the team wrote selected portions of the application, then acted as editors when the text was longer than was permitted. The application has been submitted and we should hear from The Lily Foundation in November if the grant has been approved.

In addition, a formal policy for the sabbatical was written by the team and approved by the Personnel Team. It was then sent to Session for their review and approval.

The Team has also organized a number of communication venues to keep members and friends informed prior to and during the sabbatical. Kelly Krueger has been instrumental in developing a blog that will provide information about the sabbatical and allow Dee a way to communicate with us while she is away. When it is up and running, you will be able to access it through the COTH web site, receive posts by email, or subscribe to an RSS feed of the blog posts. Further information about the sabbatical blog will be forthcoming shortly. We also have a plan for providing information via Echoes, Friday Features, as well as announcements in the Sunday bulletin and from the pulpit.

Char Ray has collected comments from pastors who have taken sabbaticals and members of the churches that the pastors serve. These comments explain how significant and beneficial a sabbatical can be to both the pastor and the congregation. These comments will be shared through the communication venues mentioned above.

We have also supported Dee and the Worship Team as plans are developed to provide coverage for Dee’s responsibilities while she is gone. It is our goal to provide individuals who will preach to the themes of the sabbatical so that the congregation can be connected to Dee and her adventures.

Of course, the Sabbatical Team is excited to be supporting Dee on her adventure. We are sure that she will return rejuvenated and re-energized to faithfully serve our congregation. We also see this as a time for our congregation to grow as we participate in the sabbatical activities from a distance and bond together to provide for the congregational needs in Dee’s absence.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact any of us.

Rick Bailey, Jill Hesser, Kelly Krueger, Char Ray, Lee Stratton, Mark Whan