While I’m on Sabbatical

April 3 – August 31, I will be on sabbatical, finding renewal so that I may return in September with the energy and creativity you’ll need in a minister as we jump into the next (and hopefully post-pandemic) stage of our church.

Here’s what that time will look like at Live Oak:

Rev. Jami Yandle (they/them) will preach twice a month at Live Oak, lead our weekly staff meetings, and attend the Board and Executive Committee meetings. They will also be available for emergency-level pastoral care.

Regular pastoral care will be handled by the Pastoral Care Team, headed up by Sue Buckley and Linda McCullough. As always, you can contact them at pastoralcare@liveoakuu.org.

The Healthy Community Team (HCT) will continue their work, helping us to have a healthy community in which we operate out of our covenant, and work to communicate with one another in healthy, mature ways. If you need help with a conflict or misunderstanding with a fellow member, you can always talk to the HCT. hct@liveoakuu.org

One of the things I believe you’ll enjoy while I’m away is the variety of Sunday speakers who will be taking the pulpit. They include local UU ministers, community activists, and Live Oak leaders.

I have never taken a sabbatical before, so this time, I will be following the standard recommendations. Sabbatical is supposed to be a time for a complete break from ministerial duties, so I will not be reachable. I won’t check email or return phone calls and if you can believe it, my plan is to be completely off Facebook. If there is a serious emergency, I will be notified by our Sabbatical Minister or the Church President.

(Now, that being said – I’ll be staying most of the time in this area. If you see me at the Farmers’ Market or out on a hiking trail, please be sure to say hello!)

Sabbatical is a standard and healthy thing for a congregation to support. This isn’t just in UU churches, it crosses denominational and religious lines. Rabbi Reice of Shir Ami will also be receiving sabbatical time this year and we’ve been sharing with each other our spiritual goals for this time. This is also an opportunity for Live Oak to move smoothly to the next stage of our development where leadership is shared by a larger number of members, allowing us to be less centered on one professional. This is called a “program church model” and is appropriate to our growing congregation size. One of the greatest ways for Live Oak to embrace this opportunity is to use my absence to care well and often for each other. And of course, this is a wonderful time to celebrate each member’s work and commitment to our shared congregational life.