2020 Sabbatical Guide

After five years of dedicated service to our congregation, our minister, Rev. Joe Cleveland, will take his first sabbatical from January 1st through March 31st.  Rev. Joe and several of the congregation’s teams and committees have been working to be sure that his areas of responsibility will be covered during this time of renewal.  Stimulating, experienced pulpit guests will ensure consistent, high-quality worship services. The congregation’s strong tradition of mutual care will continue with extra pastoral support available as requested. Our dedicated staff will ensure normal day-to-day operations continue to run smoothly.

Table of Contents

Why a Sabbatical?
How can we contact Rev. Joe?
What Can You Do During This Sabbatical?
Sunday Services
Pastoral Care
Rites of Passage
Who Do I Contact When I Have a Question?
Who’s Who at UU Saratoga
Board of Trustees

Why a Sabbatical?

The ultimate purpose of a sabbatical is for the person to come back refreshed and recharged in mind, body, and spirit by the break from normal responsibilities and the chance to engage in something different.  In a ministerial sabbatical, the emphasis is often on spiritual renewal and exploration. Ministers, particularly congregational ministers, are essentially on-call 24/7, 365 days a year. A sabbatical is an opportunity to breathe and to put down the mantle of ministry for a time.  Sabbatical leave is part of our congregation’s covenant with Rev. Joe as our minister. As is usual in letters of agreement between UU congregations and their ministers, Rev. Joe earns one month of sabbatical time per year of service.

The congregation will benefit as Rev. Joe returns refreshed, filled with new ideas, and with rekindled energy.  Rev. Joe has three main goals for his sabbatical focusing on self-care, connecting with other congregations involved in building projects, and a study of the gifts and limits of religious naturalism as a faith practice.  You can learn more about Rev. Joe’s goals here: https://uusaratoga.org/a-cuppa-joe-what-will-rev-joe-be-doing-on-his-sabbatical/ 

The congregation will also have goals for the sabbatical time, as set by the Board with input from the congregation. 

How can we contact Rev. Joe?

Rev. Joe’s sabbatical is a time for a complete break from his duties as our minister.  He will not be answering his phone, responding to texts, or checking his email. (Email sent to Rev. Joe during this time will be deleted unread.)  He will also be taking a sabbatical from all social media. Routine matters at the congregation will be handled by the appropriate people as indicated in this guide.  In case of emergency, Rev. Joe will be contacted by the President, Congregational Administrator, or a member of the Committee on Shared Ministry.

Rev. Joe is calling his sabbatical a “stay-bbatical” because he’s not doing much traveling.  You may see him around town at concerts or the grocery story, the library or local coffeeshops.  You do not need to avoid him! Please say hello, and also, in your conversation, please also try to respect this break for Rev. Joe from congregational matters.  

Rev. Joe will resume his duties on April 1, 2020.

What Can You Do During This Sabbatical?

Take this time to seek your own renewal.  Find a way to “recharge” your relationship with UU Saratoga Springs.  What spiritual practices have you wanted to try? How might you express your creative energies and expand or deepen our shared ministry?  You might sign up for a small group or join a ministry team. Try something new or rediscover something you’ve left behind.

Sunday Services

We have an exciting worship schedule planned for our sabbatical time by Rev. Joe and the Worship Team.  We will welcome Unitarian Universalist ministers and UU Saratogians to our pulpit. This will be a rare opportunity for us to experience a wide range of perspectives and hear many different voices.  You can see the schedule here <https://uusaratoga.org/a-cuppa-joe-planning-ahead/> and you’ll be hearing more from the Worship Team throughout the sabbatical time.

Rev. Joe will be back for the Hudson Mohawk UU combined worship service on April 5, 2020, and he’ll be back in our pulpit on April 12, 2020.

Pastoral Care

One of the strengths of this congregation is how we care for one another.  When one of our fellow UU Saratogians has a need, we quickly organize and provide the needed support.  That practice of caring for one another will continue during Rev. Joe’s sabbatical. As always, our caring for one another starts with a request for help.  Requests for meals, visits, rides, etc., can be directed to the Care Team who will be coordinating pastoral care during this time. Several capital region UU ministers have also offered to be on call when needed.  Janice, our Congregational Administrator, will be able to contact them for you. In the case of a serious emergency, critical injury, end-of-life situation, etc. and determined by the Care Team or a support minister, Rev. Joe will be there for us, reachable via the Congregational Administrator or the President.  

Rites of Passage

Those seeking an officiant for a wedding should contact our Congregational Administrator at uusaratoga@gmail.com or 518-584-1555.  

Members and friends of the congregation who require a memorial service should contact our Congregational Administrator who will put them in touch with Rev. Joe or another minister as seems appropriate.

If you’re interested in having a child dedication, get in touch with the Worship Team chair, Dan Forbush.

Who Do I Contact When I Have a Question?

All members of the congregation should have an account with Breeze, our online directory, at uusaratoga.breezechms.com.  When you are logged on, you can search for the appropriate Committee or Team.  Just type the name of the Committee or Team in the search window and follow the link to their “tag.”  You’ll see everyone who is a member of that Committee or Team and will have access to their contact information.  If you need help with your Breeze account, contact our Congregational Administrator Janice Wold, or our Breeze Team Dan Forbush and Jillian Ehrenberg. 

Our current Governance Committees are the Board of Trustees, the Committee on Shared Ministry, the Endowment Committee, Finance Committee, Leadership Committee, and Personnel Committee.  You can also find the Governance Task Force and the Planning Committee.  

Our current Ministry Teams are Buildings and Grounds, the Care Team, Communication, Membership, Religious Exploration, Safety, Social Justice, Stewardship, and Worship.

If you have a concern about a tension or conflict between members or groups, or if you have a compliment or a thanks to offer, contact the Committee on Shared Ministry.

Who’s Who at UU Saratoga


Minister: Rev. Joe Cleveland
Congregational Administrator: Janice Wold uusaratoga@gmail.com or 518-584-1555
Acting Director of Religious Exploration: Merle O’Connor
Music Director: Judith Thomas
Housekeeping:  Clare Nichols

Board of Trustees

President: Pam Collins
Vice President: Laurie Singer
Secretary: Judy Halstead
Treasurer: Mike Goodwin
Past President: Julie Holmberg
Trustee at Large: Mark Frizzell
Trustee at Large: Chris Kus

Other Chairs and Coordinators:

Capital Campaign Coordinator: Sue Bender Wilkinson 
Planning Committee Chair:  Harry Moran
Governance Task Force: Dick Wilkinson
Committee on Shared Ministry: Marian Bigelow, Carolyn Lansberry, Jon Thayer
Finance: Jack Carter
Personnel:  Gregg Pratt
Leadership:  Julie Holmberg

Buildings & Grounds:  Gregg Pratt, Hal Bigelow
Care Team:  Bev Lawson, Marian Bigelow, Linda Miner, Nancy Berggren, Tari Lee Sykes, Arliss Nygard, Faye Mihuta
Communication:  Dan Forbush
Membership:  Dennis Herlihy, Audrey Belt
Religious Exploration: Mary Cobb
Safety: Mark Frizzell 
Social Justice: Lâle Davidson
Small Group Ministry: Pam Collins
Stewardship: Bev Lawson
Worship: Dan Forbush

For a PDF of this guide, please click the following – Guide