Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.

Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky
Rev. Lydia portrait

Our minister, Rev. Lydia Ferrante-Roseberry, is taking a sabbatical beginning March 1, 2021 through August 9, 2021. This is a well-deserved break for her in keeping with her Letter of Call (contract). The UU Ministers Association guidelines call for ministerial sabbaticals of one month for every year of service, taken every five to seven years. This is Rev. Lydia’s fourteenth year as our minister, and her second full sabbatical since joining us in 2007. This sabbatical was voted on by the Board of Trustees November 11, 2020. 

Read on for more about the “why” of a sabbatical, and how we will carry on the leadership of the Fellowship during Rev. Lydia’s time away.

Why a sabbatical?

A sabbatical is a very old concept that relates to a period of rest or change, usually after six years. The root is from the word “Sabbath”, the biblical term, meaning the day of rest after 6 days of labor. The sabbatical is a tradition for Unitarian Universalist clergy and a customary part of church life. It offers an extended time for study, reflection, rest and renewal — all ingredients for effective ministry. 

Just as importantly, the congregation will benefit as Rev. Lydia returns refreshed, filled with new ideas and rekindled energy and direction. Further, it offers the staff and congregation the opportunity to step up, experience, and fill some of Rev. Lydia’s responsibilities while being exposed to some excellent new voices in the pulpit. Our Intern Minister, Lisa Moore, will move from half time to full-time ministry during Rev. Lydia’s sabbatical. 

The wise rest at least as hard as they work.”

Mokokoma Mokhonoana

Rev. Lydia shares her sabbatical ideas:  

The December theme of “Stillness” was excellent fodder for my sabbatical dreams. There exists an irony in the construct of congregational ministry – those who serve in this capacity are called to be spiritual leaders. Spiritual leadership requires ample time for stillness, and yet our schedules are jammed packed! Most weeks I work three, sometimes four evenings as well as both days on the weekend. So, the first goal of my sabbatical is simply more stillness. I’d like to ‘go at the pace of my soul’ for some time, letting my nervous system adjust to a slower pace with less constant input. During my last sabbatical, the initial spaciousness allowed more clarity and capacity for me to discern what was needed during this precious time. I expect that to be similar during this sabbatical.  

Still, ideas are percolating, including starting my sabbatical with a couple days of solo retreat at an AirB&B; starting a book group with my neighbors on the book “My Grandmother’s Hands”; more deeply engaging with my spiritual practice of “Ensoulment” and opening up more channels of my mystical self; using the gift of freed evenings for my husband Phil and I to take the NAMI eight session Family-to-Family education program, creating more beauty in my home, and engaging in more art. And, of course, I’d like to have the time to set up my beautiful office space in our new building, ready for me to come back and work in it!

How can I contact Rev. Lydia?

Sorry, but Rev. Lydia’s sabbatical is a time for a complete break from her duties as our minister. The network described in this email will deal with all routine matters and almost every emergency situation that might arise. A few select leaders and staff will keep Rev. Lydia informed of any major events.

Who will lead in her absence?

Our staff members and teams of laypeople are carrying our leadership forward during the sabbatical. You can read on for more information, or find a list of contacts at the end of this page.

Our Intern Minister Lisa Moore will be increasing from half time to full time to provide extra ministerial support. She’ll lead Sunday services twice monthly and provide ministerial leadership in the other facets of congregational life — including supporting our elected leaders, pastoral care, social justice ministry and adult education. You can read a profile of Lisa here. Other staff will take up some additional duties, and our able lay members already provide so much leadership in the Fellowship.

The Sabbatical Team, co-chaired by Paul Austin and Clara Kelley, from the Committee on Shared Ministries, is coordinating with Rev. Lydia to help plan the sabbatical, the transitions into and out of it, and how to adapt to changes or events that occur during the sabbatical. Other team members are Brigitta Vieyra (Coordinator/Service Associates), Scott Youmans (Vice President, Board of Trustees), Deborah Mensch (Lay Leader), and Wendie Highsmith (Lay Leader). As more details about the sabbatical take shape, they’ll be communicated on this page and through our Fellowship email lists.

It’s important to just kind of get away from your sport until you miss it. It’s about taking time to enjoy other aspects of life or learn new things. It helps rejuvenate.

Misty May-Treanor (Olympic Beach-Volleyball player)

What about…

Here’s a list of some of the leaders who will be taking care of various responsibilities while Rev. Lydia is away. There’s a contact list for them all at the end of this page.

Sunday Services?

These will proceed as they have since March, 2020, using Zoom unless it is determined we can safely return to our building. The Service Associates will plan and execute services in collaboration with our Intern Minister Lisa Moore, Music Director Tad Koriath, guest speakers, and our team of tech ushers.  One of the unforeseen benefits of these strange times is that we can draw upon ministers and guest speakers from anywhere to provide services to the Fellowship. 

Pastoral Care?

In Rev. Lydia’s absence, pastoral care will be provided by Lisa Moore and our Lay Pastoral Care Associates (LPCA). Should you need to talk with someone, please call Lisa Moore or Scott Nelson or Mzia Chatara, co-coordinators of LPCA. 

For more tangible concerns such as for meals while homebound or groceries, contact Sharon Hardin or Tanya Accurso, co-chairs of Neighborhood Connectors. 

Lisa Moore has been delegated to handle requests for the Minister’s Discretionary Fund, as well. She can also assist you with referrals to qualified mental health professionals.

Rites of Passage?

Lisa Moore is available to help with rites of passage or can assist you with finding a Unitarian Universalist minister to officiate for your wedding, commitment ceremony, child dedication, memorial, or other ceremonies.

Administration and Operations?

Office Manager Carol Pranschke, the Board, and the Sabbatical Team are working together on a regular basis to ensure all operations of the Fellowship proceed with as little interruption as possible.

More to Come! 

As we draw closer to the beginning of the sabbatical, we’ll have more information to share with you about rituals of farewell and return, details of who will take care of what during the sabbatical and how to contact them, and more.

Please, please feel free to contact anyone on the Sabbatical Team with questions that arise as Rev. Lydia begins her journey and we begin ours. This is an exciting time for all of us!

Key contacts for needs that arise during the sabbatical:

Who: Sabbatical Team sabbaticalteam@bvuuf.org

For What: Questions you don’t know who to ask, and questions about the sabbatical itself

Who: Lisa Moore, Intern Minister internminister@bvuuf.org

For What: Pastoral care, rites of passage, and other ministerial leadership including Sunday services

Who: Lay Pastoral Care Associates laycarecoordinator@bvuuf.org

For What: Additional pastoral care

Who: Neighborhood Connectors neighborhoodconnectors@bvuuf.org

For What: Meals during a difficult time, neighborhood gatherings

Who: Jessica Laikeman, Director of Lifespan Faith Formation  faithdirector@bvuuf.org

For What: Questions about School of the Spirit, youth groups, adult classes, etc.

Who: Member Engagement Council memberengagement@bvuuf.org

For What: Questions about getting more involved in the Fellowship, or about membership

Who: Carol Pranschke, Office Manager officemanager@bvuuf.org

For What: Administrative matters. (If you’re not sure your question is administrative, please consider contacting the Sabbatical Team at sabbaticalteam@bvuuf.org first.)

Almost anything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.

— Anne Lamott