About Rev. Bryce’s 2017 Sabbatical

Click here to download the sabbatical brochure (PDF)

Reverend David Bryce will be on sabbatical from January 1 to June 30, 2017.

Why a sabbatical?

A sabbatical leave is traditional for Unitarian Universalist clergy. It offers an extended time for rest, renewal, reflection, and study. David’s Letter of Call from First Church provides for a six-month sabbatical leave after every six years of service. David will actually have served us for seven years: He deferred his leave from 2016 to 2017 because our Office Administrator and our Minister of Music were about to retire. The congregation will benefit from his sabbatical in at least two ways: David will return refreshed from his time away, and our members will have had an opportunity to engage even more deeply in shared ministry.

What will David be doing during his sabbatical?

To deepen his pastoral care skills and his knowledge of certain social issues, David will be volunteering with Chaplains on the Way, a program in Waltham that spiritually supports the homeless, and at MCI Concord, providing chaplaincy to prisoners. His longer-term goal is to learn more about the human heart and how to build a better society for all.

Can I contact David during his time away?

The essence of a sabbatical leave lies in the minister’s ability to be completely free from his churchly responsibilities. All routine matters and most emergencies can and will be handled by our committees, staff members, and dedicated volunteers.

When will David return?

His sabbatical will end on June 30th of 2017; during July he will be on his regularly scheduled vacation, and during August he will be on call for pastoral care needs. David will return to the First Church pulpit for the Ingathering and Water Communion in September 2017, when the congregation will be thrilled to welcome him back.

Who will do all the work David usually does?

Sermons. As you know by now, Andrea Spencer-Linzie will join us in September 2016 as a ministerial intern. Andrea has a Master’s of Divinity from Drew Theological School and a Master’s of Philosophy in religious feminist social ethics from the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies at Drew University. She has directed religious education programs, is certified to teach OWL for grades 7-9 and 10-12, has worked with several church youth programs, and has taught Adult RE. She spent 20+ years as an executive director of several not-for-profit organizations, and she currently teaches in the Rutgers University Certificate Program in Violence Against Women and Children.

Andrea will have the benefit of David’s guidance and supervision for the first four months of the church year and will preach several times during that period. Starting in January 2017, she will be supervised by Rev. Doris Hunter and supported by the Intern Committee. She will take the pulpit through the end of the church year unless a guest preacher or a special lay-led service has been scheduled. (A preliminary worship schedule is on the back of the brochure.)

Pastoral care. Andrea will be assisted by an expanded Lay Pastoral Care team for hospital visits, compassionate listening, and spending time with the homebound, and by the Caring Connection for short-term assistance and support (rides, meals, flowers, and funeral collations). You can find a list of Lay Pastoral Care team members and contact information for the Caring Connection in this brochure.

Rites of passage. Andrea is qualified and would be pleased to perform weddings, funerals, child dedications, and other special ceremonies in David’s absence.

Church operations. We are blessed with a strong and competent staff; church operations will continue as usual, under the able oversight of the Parish Board.

Committee attendance. Andrea will meet in David’s stead with the Parish Board, the Program Council, and those committees whose meetings David usually attends.

Sabbatical Committee: Jackie James, chair; Louise Bray, Peter Guthrie, Leslie Kolterman, Martha Spaulding, Jonathan Wolf.