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Today in the Mission Yearbook

‘Our model for that is Jesus’


Sabbatical grants available for new worshiping community leaders

October 26, 2021

1001 New Worshiping Communities (NWC) is offering its leaders and pastors an opportunity for rest, renewal and reflection time through a round of Sabbath and sabbatical grants. There are two opportunities available:

Sabbath retreat grant — A $1,500 award for NWC leaders with at least two years’ experience for a period of at least one week

Sabbatical grant — A $3,500 award for NWC leaders with at least five years’ experience for a period of at least four weeks.

Individuals with at least five years’ experience in new worshiping communities are also eligible for the Sabbath retreat grant.

To apply for one of the grants, visit the 1001 Sabbath & Sabbatical Grants web page here.

The Rev. Jeff Eddings, associate for coaching and spiritual formation with 1001 NWC, said there are 20 Sabbath retreat grants and 17 sabbatical grants available.

“The Sabbath retreat opportunity allows a leader at least one week of sabbath space. They receive $1,500 to help shape that time. The sabbatical grant is at least four weeks, and one receives $3,500 to help shape their time,” said Eddings. “You don’t have to be ordained to receive either of these grants. A lot of our leaders have been doing this work for a long time and not all are ordained.”

Eddings, one of the early pioneers in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s church planting movement, began his career with NWC in late 2017. He explains that sabbaticals are more than just rest — they build spiritual fortitude for the work of church leaders and pastors.

“Our model for that is Jesus. It is very clear in the Scripture that he took time apart frequently and went off on his own to be in contemplative prayer with God, and to be in his own space, to be in the wilderness. Jesus models this way of ministry for us and builds our capacity to be able to do the ministry that is ours,” said Eddings. “It’s a command, God invites us into this space to rest in a way that strengthens us for the work that we’re being called to do.”

According to Eddings, sabbaticals are important tools to help nurture one’s faith journey. Church leaders are often expected to be “on call” 24/7, and depression and burnout are serious and real ramifications of their calling. He hopes these grants provide a transformational opportunity for those who are chosen, and that their Sabbath journey will be life-changing, much like the one that changed him several years ago.

“Metaphorically but somewhat literally, my sabbatical saved my life in terms of where I was personally and in ministry, said Eddings. “I’d been pastoring my community about 10 years and we’d come out of a challenging season which also impacted me personally. I was just ready to be done. Fortunately, my community reflected with me on where I was and helped prepare me to take on the sabbatical. Entering that space was so meaningful and coming out of it I was able to serve my community for five more years and feel refreshed in that service. It helped me understand more fully who I was as a pastor, and who I was being called to be.”

“I think pastors and sometimes communities feel so much pressure to make these sacrifices for Jesus, but Jesus is not calling us to burn out.”

Click here for the Sabbath and sabbatical grant applications in English and Spanish.

 Scott O’Neill, Communications Strategist, Presbyterian Mission Agency

Today’s Focus: Sabbatical grants available

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Daniel Braden, Managing Editor-Publishing, Presbyterian Publishing Corporation
Luci Duckson-Bramble, Director of Development & Services, Presbyterian Historical Society

Let us pray

Gracious God, you have taught us to celebrate with those who are celebrating and to cry with those who are crying. May our eyes be open to see and distinguish between the two. Keep us mindful of all those who need your Spirit shining through us as much as they may need our monies and our labors. Amen.