Spiritual Renewal

Dear All Saints’ Church Family,

All Saints’ is experiencing a year of renewal with increased numbers of participants at
worship, revitalized small groups and a thriving youth ministry. It is truly an exciting time,
and we have another opportunity for spiritual growth.

The Reverend Nancy Cox has completed thirteen years of pastoral leadership at All Saints’.
Entering the fourteenth year it is time for her sabbatical. Her sabbatical leave will
commence on July 16, and she will return to ministry at All Saints’ on October 27.

As much as we love and treasure Reverend Nancy’s leadership, we each as parishioners
have an individual responsibility to nurture and grow our church. This is our opportunity
to fulfill this commitment.

What is a Sabbatical?
It is an extended time away from day-to-day ministry for the purpose of renewal, retooling,
and receiving a fresh vision. It is meant to provide a time of special renewal for the rector
that will bring personal nourishment to her soul, a deeper relationship with the Lord,
renewal, and a clearer understanding of God’s vision for the church. A sabbatical helps
prevent ministry burnout by giving the rector a fresh perspective for her ministry.

What does the Bible say about Sabbaticals?
“The concept of sabbatical is deeply and indisputably rooted in Scripture. The term is
derived from the Old Testament idea of “Sabbath.” The Hebrew word means “rest.” God
created the world in six days and rested on the seventh (Genesis 2:1-3). During the Hebrew
children’s exodus from Egypt, God directed them (Exodus 16:26) to gather the manna daily
but to rest on the seventh day (Sabbath). In numerous Old Testament passages, God
admonished his people to work six days but to devote the seventh day to God as a day of
rest (Exodus 20:9-10, 23:12, 31:15, 34:21, 35:2; Leviticus 23:3 and Deuteronomy 5:13).
Among the Israelites, God instituted the Sabbath year (Leviticus 25:1-5). On every seventh
year, the children of Israel were to refrain from farming the land and let the earth rest. Both
the Israelites and the land benefited from the Sabbath rest.

These passages suggest that there is a rhythm to life. As the preacher said, for everything
there is a season (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Jesus’ own life and ministry reflect a deep
understanding and appreciation for the rhythms of life. The demands upon Him were so
great that his own ministry was punctuated with times of withdrawal for prayer and
spiritual solitude (Matthew 14:23; Mark 6:46; Luke 5:16, 6:12).”

Why do we give our clergy sabbaticals?
-We are following Biblical and best practices for long-term ministry health.
-Spiritual renewal and recharging for the next phase her ministry.
-Further education as Nancy continues her study of Spanish.

What is the plan during the Rector’s absence?
Weekend Sermons: by the clergy of All Saints’.
Ministry Leadership: The Staff and ministry team directors
Operations/Administration: Brian Sapp-Moore
Congregational Care: Pastoral care team and the clergy of All Saints’
Strategic Leadership: The Vestry

What is your role during this sabbatical?
-Pray, encourage, and support our rector
-Pray and step-up at the church so the church is strengthened during this time:
-Attend regularly and invite others
-Give faithfully and generously
-Volunteer and serve consistently
-Respect the boundaries of the sabbatical by not contacting Nancy. She will be
traveling quite a bit and will not have phone, email, or social media. She is not to
engage in any “ministry or work” talk during her sabbatical.

Much like a family gathering, upon Revered Nancy’s return we will all have tales to tell. I look
forward to what God will show us, as a congregation, during this time. I know that we will
all grow in grace and faith, and it will be a joy to be reunited with all of our new

Martin Ericson
Senior Warden

Q: I have never heard of a sabbatical before. Why is it important to grant a sabbatical to the
A: 1) Aligns with Episcopal Church’s recommendation, the requirements of the Diocese of
North Carolina and guidelines for best practices in clergy development.
2) It is a significant learning and enriching experience that will greatly enhance All Saints’
collective understanding of scripture and how to apply it in our lives.
3) Pastoral ministry carries another dimension of weight to it, and providing this
opportunity is a special way to appreciate and value of our rector’s role.
A sabbatical is a period of paid leave designed to offer rest, education, and vision-
enhancement, as clergy seek to hear clearly from the Lord, and bring an even better version
of themselves back to serve their congregation.
4) The Reverend Nancy Cox celebrates twenty-nine consecutive years of pastoral service in
2024 and is in her fourteenth year at All Saints’.

Q: Is the sabbatical policy new to All Saints’ Episcopal Church?
A: No, former rectors have taken sabbatical leave consistent with diocesan policy.

Q: How long will our rector be gone?
A: Nancy will be gone from July 16 through October 24.

Q: Who will cover for her while she is away?
A: Consistent with normal practice, the vestry, staff, and ministry leaders will continue to
manage day-to-day operations. Specifically, the Senior Warden will address issues that
would normally be handled by the Rector.

Q: How will we know the sabbatical was effective in meeting its stated purpose?
A: 1) The vestry has carefully reviewed and approved the rector’s itinerary and plan,
through the criteria of Rest, Education, and Vision.
2) The rector will share key learnings from this experience during a time of telling, with the
entire congregation.

Q: How is the sabbatical funded?
A: The rector will continue to receive her salary and may use funds specifically provided
for her continuing education/professional expenses for those aspects of the sabbatical
which qualify.

Q: Where is our rector going?
A: She has planned several spiritually reflective experiences, educational
trips, and also time for R&R. Upon her return, she will be sharing some of the highlights
from her sabbatical as well as what she has learned.

Q: We are committed to growing this church. Does her absence concern the vestry, as a risk
of loss of momentum?
A: No. The vestry is not concerned about a risk of loss of momentum as a result of the
timing of the sabbatical. Part of the discernment process included confirming that now is
the time for her to take a sabbatical. Nancy has done a great job guiding All Saints’ in our vision. The vestry is confident that the ministry leaders and staff will collectively lead and
guide the church in her absence.

Q: I would like to discuss this decision with a vestry member. Who should I talk with?
A: Please contact Martin Ericson, Senior Warden and he will direct your questions/comments to the appropriate person.