Sabbatical Ministry

I am only able to provide in-person sabbatical coverage within 75 miles of Takoma Park, MD.

While my ministry keeps me connected to many religious professionals and congregations at once, I enjoy serving one congregation for 2-6 months at a time, to share a different perspective, to encourage restoration and rejuvenation, and to spread a little beauty and joy. Being in a congregation for a little while grounds me so that I may serve everyone more fully and more creatively.

Sabbatical ministry helps you, too.

What is sabbatical ministry?

Reverend Lara Campbell introduces the sabbatical with a shared worship service with Rev. Kimberley Debus (at First Parish Kennebunk)

When your settled minister takes their sabbatical, congregational life doesn’t stop—Sunday services are still held, committees and boards still meet, pastoral care is still needed, and the work both in the congregation and out in the community continue. That work can be done by a congregation alone, but sabbatical ministry provides ministerial support while your settled minister is away.

Your minister’s sabbatical is meant to be a time away from the day-to-day life of a congregation, to provide a time of rest and rejuvenation for the body, mind, and spirit, a chance to recharge and refocus. But it is also a time for the congregation to recharge and refocus, with an opportunity to hear another perspective, and change up the day-to-day patterns for a few months. That’s my job as a sabbatical minister – to hold space for rest and rejuvenation, to help hold boundaries so the rest can happen, to ensure the day-to-day life of the congregation continues apace, and of course to attend to pastoral needs as they arise.

As sabbatical minister, I am not meant to be a replacement for your settled minister, who you called many years ago to hold you in care. I am meant to make sure your minister can take their sabbatical in confidence that the congregation and their ministry is being cared for in their absence. I am much like a substitute teacher who is called in to cover a teacher’s medical leave—a sub who doesn’t assign much homework… but does attend meetings.

Why should we hire a Unitarian Universalist minister for the sabbatical?

As you know from calling your settled minister, there is great value in having a minister that is fellowshipped with the UUA, which guarantees they have a high level of training and preparation for the Unitarian Universalist ministry. The same should be true of your sabbatical minister, as they will hold you in care during the sabbatical.

This benefits you, as you can be assured of a consistency in quality and commitment to our faith, a connection to other UU ministers both nearby and elsewhere in the region, and access to the same wealth of denominational resources that your settled minister has.

This also benefits your settled minister, as they and I are already bound by a strong professional code of ethics and conduct. This covenant adds a level of trust that they are leaving the congregation in good hands that will ensure consistency and attention to our faith.

What are the sabbatical minister’s responsibilities?

  • Provide at least half of the Sunday services
  • Provide on-call pastoral care (phone and in-person)
  • Provide assistance to the board for supervision of staff
  • Attend monthly meetings with the Board of Trustees, staff, Sunday services/worship committee, and sabbatical team
  • As needed, provide community support (vigils, marches, etc.) for local/national crises or tragedies

Depending on contract terms, the sabbatical minister may also provide guidance for a congregational project, lead a workshop or adult class, or co-host events (potlucks, movies, etc.).


Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation of White Plains, NY
First Parish UU Church of Kennebunk, ME
UU Society of Oneonta, NY
Nantucket (MA) UU Meeting House Society

To begin a conversation, please contact me.