Our rector’s sabbatical begins after the Ascension Day service on May 5th. Bingham+ will be gone for almost three months, returning the first week of August. As we discussed in last month’s Bellringer, a clergy sabbatical is a time for rest, study, and renewal, an opportunity for growth for both priest and congregation. After nine years of ministry at St. Mary’s, this time away from the parish will be a vital opportunity for him to reflect and prepare for the next nine years!
We have been receiving some questions about the sabbatical and decided to put together this FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions):
¨ Where is Bingham+ going? Bingham+ will be traveling for part of the sabbatical. He will be attending a stewardship conference in Atlanta in June and is going on pilgrimage to the Holy Land in July. Each Sunday he will travel around the diocese (and a little beyond) to visit different churches. He also has some trips to the coast and mountains planned. But because of school and work schedules for his family, he will be in town for most of the sabbatical and you will probably run into him at the grocery store, out on a run, or taking his kids to the park. You don’t need to avoid him, but also, please don’t bring up work matters.
¨ What if there is an emergency? In emergencies, such as a death in the parish, the staff will contact Bingham+ as soon as possible. As long as he is in town and available, Bingham+ will come back for funerals if the family would like him to officiate.
¨ What about the work Bingham+ would normally be doing? A lot of it is done! Bingham+ has been working furiously for the past two months trying to get a lot of things done. (Bingham+ has started joking that if he didn’t need a sabbatical before, he definitely needs one now after getting ready for this one!) The rest of the work can either wait or has been delegated to various people in the parish, both staff and volunteers. The core administrative team (Brad+, Lana, and Louise) have a big chart of who is covering what. For worship or pastoral matters, your first contact is Brad+. For administrative matters, your first contact is Lana. For Outreach matters, your first contact is Louise. They either are the person to help you or they can point you to the member to whom that task has been delegated.
¨ Is Brad+ “in charge” while Bingham+ is away? Not exactly. He is taking on some of the tasks that Bingham+ does, as are many other people. But in Episcopal polity, after the rector, the vestry assumes ultimate responsibility with the senior warden being their primary representative. So, if there is anything that needs to rise to the level of “the buck stops here” (which happens relatively rarely around here, thankfully!) and can’t wait until he returns, it will go the wardens and the vestry. In certain situations, Bingham+ might have to return. He has spoken to the wardens about the kind of rare emergencies that would necessitate that.