Christ Church Austin                                    Clergy Sabbatical FAQ


What is a sabbatical?

A sabbatical is a temporary leave from the workplace for the purposes of renewal and reflection. It is a time to step back from the continuous responsibilities of church work, to renew and replenish the reservoirs of creativity and spirituality, and to see refreshment and renewal through a change of environment and respite from routine. The sabbatical time should also be a time of reflection. Through prayer and meditation participants should seek to refocus on God, and discern areas in their life where God is moving and changes may be necessary. Sabbaticals draw from the biblical root “Sabbath,” which God commanded to establish a rhythm of work and rest. From daily devotional times to the weekly Sabbath, and from annual times of restoration to the “seventh year” Sabbath, this rhythm creates sustainability, as well as calibration of personal, family and vocational priorities. Pastors and congregations are both served by sabbaticals, especially when they are occasioned by a policy and lifestyle of biblical rhythm and sustainability, rather than by a crisis. Thankfully, Fr. Warner’s sabbatical is occasioned by the former, a planned rhythm of sustaining pastoral excellence. For more on the biblical background and significance of sabbaticals, please see Peter Roebelen’s article.


What are the terms of the sabbatical, according to Christ Church policy?

Christ Church Policy: “The Rector will accrue two weeks of cumulative Sabbatical time each year. A Sabbatical cannot be taken until after the completion of six years of incumbency as Rector of the Church. The Sabbatical shall be with full pay and allowances and may be taken in conjunction with the Rector’s annual vacation and continuing education time.”


Who will lead Christ Church?

The staff and Vestry will continue to cover all bases of leadership. For pastoral needs please contact Fr. Matt Dampier. For any operational concerns, please contact Laura Smith. The Vestry remains our main leadership responsible for finances and facilities and partnering with the clergy for the leadership of the church.  Please contact John Nehme, our Senior Warden, for any Vestry related inquiries.  Fr. Matt will do most of the preaching with frequent support from other staff and guests.


What does this mean for the life of mission and community at Christ Church?

God has given us a clear vision and strong leaders, both on staff and within the ministries of our church.  We will continue full steam ahead in the work of the gospel; together, we are a people of changed lives in the heart of our city, mending our world for the praise of God’s glory.


How can we pray for the Warner family leading up to and during the sabbatical?

From the Warners: “Safety when traveling and physical health. Adjusting quickly when in new environments so that we can enter into daily rhythms easily. That each family member would encounter Christ in fresh ways, receiving His living waters, and that we would be marked more deeply as His own. For profound rest, and that nothing would sabotage God’s purposes for this time. That good things would not become enemies of God’s best. That laughter, joy, significant conversations, and bonding would mark our time together. Marriage enrichment and vision for the next stretch of parenting emerging adults. That we would be refreshed, prepared, and ready for the next season of vocational and family life.”