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The purpose of a ministerial sabbatical is to provide a period of refreshment and renewal for both the ministers and the congregation. In accordance to the Ministry Agreement of April 2011, our ministers accumulate one month of sabbatical for every year of service. Revs Lauren and Chris are planning a joint, four month sabbatical period beginning on January 29. 

FAQs | Worship Services | Sabbatical Committee | Visiting Ministers & Lay Leaders | Extra Info

Frequently Asked Questions

When is this happening? In accordance to the Ministry Agreement of April 2011 our ministers accumulate one month of sabbatical for every year of service. Revs Lauren and Chris are planning a joint, four month sabbatical period beginning on January 29.

What will the ministers be doing? Sabbatical is a time to reflect on the state of the ministry at South Church and on their personal development as ministers. They will focus their time away on rest, renewal and spiritual practice. Rev. Chris will study best practices from other thriving mid-to large-size UU congregations. Rev. Lauren will research and explore public ministry.

What will the congregation be doing? Sabbatical is also a time for reflection and renewal for the congregation – a time to take stock and imagine the future. It is a time to strengthen connections among members, reflect on the congregation’s purpose, and celebrate the many ways our members carry forward our mission.

How is the leadership preparing? The Board of Trustees on behalf of the congregation has commissioned a Sabbatical Committee to work with the congregation, ministers, staff and volunteers within the church to:

  • oversee the preparations for ministers’ sabbatical before the sabbatical begins
  • monitor and support the staff, church Board and others to see that the sabbatical replacement plans are proceeding and are adequate while the ministers are away
  • help welcome the ministers back after the sabbatical, to assist with their re-entry and re-engagement with the life of the congregation

What is the impact to the budget? Revs Lauren and Chris plan to use professional development funds allocated annually for expenses such as attending professional seminars or conferences. Funds have been added to the worship budget to provide for guest preacher travel and honorariums during the four months of the sabbatical. Additionally, funds are allocated for an administrative staff liaison to the Board of Trustees.

What if I, or someone I know, is ill or in need? Our Pastoral Associates coordinate practical and spiritual support for members of the congregation. They can arrange rides and meals, or other help such as expressing community care through notes, calls and visits. For a pastoral need you may contact Jennifer Leyden in the office or email pastoralcare@southchurch-uu.org.

What if I really need to talk to a minister? Should an urgent need arise, two ordained ministers will be on call during the four months of sabbatical. They are Rev. Lara Campbell, minister of First Parish UU of Kennebunk, ME, and Rev. Kendra Ford, minister of the First UU Society of Exeter. If there is a death of a South Church member during sabbatical, Revs. Lauren and Chris will personally respond. Please contact Jennifer Leyden in the South Church office if you wish to arrange an appointment with Rev. Campbell or Rev. Ford, or if you need to reach out to Revs. Chris or Lauren.

What if I’d like to be included in the prayer on Sunday? You may write your prayer request in the book at the altar at the back of the sanctuary or contact the Worship Associates by the Friday before the service at worship@southchurch-uu.org.

Who do I contact if I’d like to learn about the church or become a member? Fellowship Associates welcome visitors into our community and coordinate New Member classes in the fall and spring. Stop by the greeter table in the entry on Sunday morning for the up-to-date class schedule or let them know about your interests by emailing fellowship@southchurch-uu.org.

How will I know what’s going on at church? The semi-monthly NUUsflash, bulletin announcements in the order of service, worship announcements and the website will continue to be the platforms for all communications. Contact the office to sign up for NUUsflash.

What if I want to make an announcement on Sunday? As has been the practice, announcement requests must be made in advance NO LATER THAN the Friday before the service. Announcements are limited to no more than one minute – that’s about 100 words. Written announcements can be submitted via the website for inclusion in the Order Of Service on the Monday prior to the service. As an alternative, you can contact Worship Associates by sending an email to worship@southchurch-uu.org.

What if I have a logistical question? Requests related to space use, communications and finance are handled through the office. Office Administrator Jennifer Leyden can answer questions and provide direction or reach out to a member of the Sabbatical Committee.

Is there anything else I need to know? Revs Chris and Lauren will return on June 3rd, and will be present for most of the following summer. Based on their contract, they are eligible for five weeks of vacation during the second half of 2018. They plan to take a week or two together in July to visit family, and another week in November for Thanksgiving. Otherwise, at least one of them will be present during the summer, leading worship and planning the coming program year with the staff and lay leaders.

Worship Services

Intention

January 7 - Kimberley Cloutier Green

January 14 - Matt Meyer

January 21 - Rev. Frank Clarkson

January 28 - Nicaraqua Trip Reflections and Ministers Sabbatical Leave-Taking

Reception for Ministers immediately following service

Perseverance

February 4 - Youth Service

February 11 - Love Fest, Worship Associates

February 18 - Rev. Erika Hewitt

February 25 - Rev. Joanna Lubkin

Balance

March 4 - Rev. Joanna Lubkin

March 11 - Kirsten Hunter

March 18 - Rev. Erika Hewitt

March 25 - Palm Sunday - Joanne Connolly

Emergence

April 1 - Easter, Kimberley Cloutier Green

April 8 - Rev. Erika Hewitt

April 15 - Committee on Ministry

April 22 - Aging with Grace

April 29 - Rev. Alicia Forde

Creativity

May 6 - Michael Dalterio

May 13 - Mother's Day - Rebecca Hennessy

May 20 - Kimberly Cloutier Green

May 27 - Angela Matthews

Blessing

June 3 - Coming of Age Sunday

Welcome the ministers back immediately following the service

June 10 - Bridging Sunday - Rev. Lauren

June 17 - Rev. Chris

Sabbatical Committee

In April the Board of Trustees appointed a Sabbatical Committee to work with Revs Lauren and Chris to assist with planning and to keep open lines of communication for anyone who has questions, concerns or wants an update.

The members of the Sabbatical Committee are:

  • Peter Okhuysen, Sabbatical Committee Chair
  • Cindy Brown, BoT Vice Chair
  • Tricia Hanley
  • Angela Matthews
  • Jon Prichard

Other volunteers: The Sabbatical Committee will join with the Committee on Ministry, Shared Ministry Committee, Associate programs, and staff to maintain continuity and communication during the sabbatical.

Visiting Ministers and Lay Leaders

Rev. Frank Clarkson followed his wife Tracey to South Church and UUism over 20 years ago. It was South Church and this free faith that led him to divinity school. Ordained in 2005, Frank is in his tenth year at the UU Church of Haverhill, MA.

Kimberly Cloutier-Green is a longtime member of South Church, a spiritual director affiliated with Bethany House of Prayer in Boston, a poet and a workshop and retreat leader.

Michael Dalterio has been a member of South Church since 1991 and is currently in his third year of serving as a Worship Associate. He is a teacher of young children with special needs in Kingston NH and lives in nearby New Castle.

Rev. Alicia Roxanne Forde serves with the Unitarian Universalist Association as the Professional Development Director, Ministries and Faith Development. Alicia was born and spent her formative years in Trinidad and Tobago. She identifies as an African descent, queer, cisgender female.

Rebecca Hennessy grows garlic, writes things down, mothers two highschoolers, and likes to coach the game of ultimate frisbee. She came to South Church in 2003 and sat in her favorite pew for a couple years of Sundays before deciding to stay.

Rev. Erika Hewitt is pastor at the Midcoast UU Fellowship in Damariscotta ME, wedding officiant, and yoga teacher, who believes that the yoga mat is a meeting place where we connect and reconnect with the source of life.

Kirsten Hunter is the Director of Religious Education at South Church and mother to two boys, ages 11 and 17. She has a Masters degree in special education with more than 20 years of teaching experience. Kirsten is a life-long UU, and is currently completing certification as a masters level religious educator through the UUA.

Rev. Joanna Lubkin is the Unitarian Universalist chaplain at Wellesley College and is an affiliated community minister at Arlington Street Church in Boston. She studied at Hebrew College Rabbinical School before finishing her Masters of Divinity at Andover Newton Theological School. Joanna sings in the Arlington Street Church choir and at Sanctuary Boston.

Angela Matthews has been attending South Church since 1989 and has had many opportunities to serve the congregation including three years as a Worship Associate.

Matt Meyer is a musician and community organizer who has led hundreds of services for UU congregations across the country. He has a degree in music and has studied abroad in Cuba, Ghana and Central America. Matt serves as Director of Community Life for Sanctuary Boston and is a founding resident of the Lucy Stone Cooperative in Roxbury.

Extra Information

Other Leadership Volunteers and Staff

Board of Trustees

  • Jeff Leathe, Chair*
  • Cindy Brown, Vice Chair*
  • Lucy Salyer, Secretary
  • Andrew McGeorge, Treasurer
  • Martha Ammann
  • Donna Borg
  • CJ Cogswell
  • Judy Colavecchio
  • Dave Drucker
  • Connie Freiermuth
  • Chris Redmond

*Note: Jeff Leathe and Cindy Brown have kindly agreed to continue in their roles as Chair and Vice Chair through 2018 to maintain continuity during the co-ministers’ sabbatical

Staff

  • Rev. Lauren Smith, On Sabbatical (Jan. 29-June 3)
  • Rev. Chris Holton Jablonski, On Sabbatical (Jan. 29-June 3)
  • Susan Adams, Pianist
  • Joanne Connolly, Director of Music Ministry
  • Jennifer Leyden, Office Administrator
  • Lisa Donnelly, Finance Administrator
  • Kirsten Hunter, Director of Religious Education
  • Cat Lyons, Religious Education Assistant