Study Leave (Sabbatical)

Study leaves – (formerly called sabbaticals) are periods of extended study leave -12 weeks, and short study leave – four weeks offering an opportunity to learn, rest, reflect and pray. They are encouraged for clergy and licensed lay workers including Readers. 

Study leave policy - information about who is eligible, criteria for acceptance, an outline of the content of study leaves, funding and how to apply | PDF

DBF policy for those employed by the DBF | PDF

Forms for applying:

Extended study leave initial application form | DOCX

Short study leave initial application form | DOCX

Extended study leave final proposal form | DOCX

Short study leave final proposal form | DOCX

You will find a checklist of things to do and organise in the benefice before a study leave here | PDF.

For a variety of reasons I took two-months extended study in 2018.  It was a year I marked 20 years of stipendiary ministry (plus turning a certain age).  I knew it was time for a move and wanted time to reflect, think, and have space before I jumped immediately into something new and just carried on the same thing somewhere else.

During my time I re-visited some places that had been significant in my faith journey which helped me think about how I had changed; spiritually, personally, theologically - plus travelling to see some new places that had held significance.  For example seeing Rembrandt’s ‘Prodigal Son’ painting in real life in the Hermitage.  The whole experience was a blessing in so many ways.  Some unexpected encounters and the opportunity to totally forget everything and focus on ‘myself and God’ was truly special.  My wife and I did some of it together and this helped us reflect and share together and on each other.

I came back different, and everyone said how different I looked!  Refreshed and excited again about God’s calling in my (and our) life/lives.  We moved into a new ministry soon afterwards which is not uncommon, but for me it was not a role I would necessarily have explored before sabbatical! I cannot recommend highly enough for anyone to take this opportunity, especially if you’re at a crossroads or know you need to be exploring a next move – to take time away and switch off and totally receive rather than constantly giving.

The space here is not enough to explain how imperative this has been to my sanity as well as my ministry, but happy to talk about it. 

Captain Andrew Payne, Mission Enabler