NJ Leadership Leaves Program

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The Leadership Leaves program is a cooperative sabbatical program for Unitarian Universalist religious professionals in New Jersey. Beginning in 1967, with leadership from the Princeton Unitarian Church and the active participation of other societies, the idea behind the Leadership Leaves Program was developed. The goal was to establish shared coverage to its member congregations when a minister goes on sabbatical leave. Such a program, it was felt, would serve both congregations and ministers by providing effective and rewarding sabbatical leaves. For questions about this program please contact LeadershipLeaves@gmail.com.

Member congregations of the Leadership Leaves Program covenant together to:

  • Provide coverage for two Sunday mornings during the six-month period of time that the Parish Minister is on leave, as well as coverage of pastoral responsibilities such as memorial services, weddings, child dedications and crisis counseling.
  • Provide funds through a mutually agreed-upon assessment system, to support the additional expenses of the congregation and provide a stipend to the religious professional on sabbatical to be used to deepen and enrich the experience.
  • Create a Leadership Leaves Council to administer the program. This council would develop a body of information on the care and management of sabbatical leaves

The Leadership Leaves Program has several goals:

  • To support professional development among our full time religious professionals;
  • To assist in religious professionals' involvement in both the denomination and the larger society;
  • To provide a successful sabbatical experience which allows for travel, time to read and reflect, and find meaningful ways to "refuel";
  • To promote interdependence among congregations;
  • To support lay leadership development;
  • To make full time professional leadership more attractive to religious professionals;
  • To lengthen the productive tenure of full time religious professionals.

The Leadership Leaves Program (LLP) is administered by the Leadership Leaves Council (LLC), which meets twice a year (Fall and Spring) at the home church of one of the participating congregations. The membership of the Council is composed of two lay and two religious professional delegates from each participating congregation.

Congregations agree to participate in the Leadership Leaves Program for a six-year cycle. During that time, each congregation pays into the program a set amount (up to 1% of its annual budget and capped at a maximum amount each year) for each of its participating professional religious leaders. These payments build a reserve enabling the Leadership Leaves Program to provide funds for each congregation when its religious professional goes on sabbatical. When a congregation receives this disbursement, it agrees to pay three-quarters of the amount to its religious professional for sabbatical expenses and to retain one-quarter of the amount for use by the congregation to help provide Sunday morning leadership.

Participating Congregations:

For questions about this program please contact LeadershipLeaves@gmail.com.