Renewal leave is a time for pastors to step away from their ministry setting in order to rest, renew, and re-charge.
Taking renewal leave is a well-established clergy practice that is allowed by the Great Plains Annual Conference (GPAC)
and the Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church.
This FAQ is meant to answer questions you may have about Pastor Jill’s renewal leave
and how ministry will continue at CHUM!
When is Pastor Jill’s renewal leave?
Pastor Jill’s renewal leave is Sunday, May 1 thru Sunday, July 24, 2022 (12 weeks).
She returns to the office on Monday, July 25 and will be back in the pulpit Sunday, July 31, 2022.
Why did Pastor Jill request renewal leave?
Pastor Jill requested renewal leave to get in touch with her call to ministry once more, to re-energize herself for ministry,
in general, and to lead CHUM into the future, specifically. Pastor Jill acknowledges that, like many of her colleagues in ministry, she has found the past two years of ministry during the pandemic to be extremely taxing.
A 2021 Barna study indicates that 38% of pastors have thought about quitting full-time ministry in the past year.
The statistic is even higher for those under the age of 45, with 46% of pastors indicating
they are considering quitting full-time ministry.
Barna’s study also indicates that pastors from mainline denominations such as the UMC
are more likely to quit than those from non-mainline denominations (51% vs. 34%).
In addition, female pastors are more likely than male pastors to have considered giving up full-time ministry
since the pandemic began.
Did CHUM cause Pastor Jill to burn-out?
No, the congregation is not responsible for Pastor Jill’s desire and need to take renewal leave.
The past two years have been heavy due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control
and Pastor Jill is choosing to be proactive and step away for a time to rest so that she is a healthier leader.
In addition, per the Book of Discipline (¶ 350.3), United Methodist clergy are allowed to take renewal leave
of up to six months after six years of full-time ministry.
Pastor Jill has been in ministry since 2008 and this is her first renewal leave; it’s overdue!
Who will preach and lead worship while Pastor Jill is on renewal leave?
Pastor Maddie Johnson, our affiliated deacon who works full-time as the Faith Based Coordinator
with the Neighboring Movement, will be our primary preacher while Pastor Jill is away.
Pastor Jill was awarded a grant by GPAC for her renewal leave;
a portion of which will be utilized to provide a stipend to Pastor Maddie for preaching consecutive weeks.
You’ll also see Pastor Jim Graves (one of our retired clergy) in the pulpit
and you’ll get a chance to hear some stories of fellow CHUMites
as they share what a difference this church has made in their life!
Our retired and affiliated clergy will consecrate communion and officiate at baptisms
and serve alongside selected lay leaders to assist in leading worship.
Jodi Rice, our Director of Children’s Ministry, will coordinate who will be leading the children’s storytime!
Worship will continue to be rich and meaningful during these months.
Watch the CHUM for the weekly sermon topic and a brief biography of those preaching and leading worship.
This is an exciting time for CHUMites to share gifts with each other and get to know one another better!
What do we do in case of a pastoral care need?
Contact Debbie Snell (firstname.lastname@example.org or 316-683-4643)
and she will connect you with the pastor-on-call. Our retired clergy are serving on a rotating basis to provide care.
Who will do funerals and weddings?
Funerals will be officiated by the pastor-on-call who has provided care for the family during their loved one’s illness or death.
As always, Debbie Snell will coordinate the logistics of funerals.
Weddings will be officiated by Pastor Maddie or one of our retired clergy.
As always, Brian Sutton, our wedding coordinator, will take care of the logistics of weddings.
Who do I contact with prayer requests?
in the church office (316-683-4643) with prayer requests.
Patty updates the prayer list in the bulletin and Debbie will contact our pastor-on-call, if needed.
How will church operations and ministry function while Pastor Jill is away?
Staff members will continue fulfilling their job duties while Pastor Jill is away.
Staff will meet regularly to stay accountable to the ministry and operation of CHUM.
Youth will go on mission trips; children’s activities will happen. Worship and pastoral care will be provided for!
The Staff Parish Relations Committee (SPRC) will handle any pressing staffing needs,
in consultation with our District Superintendent.
Diane Gjerstad, current chairperson of SPRC, can be reached at email@example.com.
What about COVID procedures?
Our Safe Reopening Task Force was formed in June of 2020 to determine
our congregation’s COVID protocols and safety procedures.
This ten-member team has been guiding us for the last two years
and they will continue to do so while Pastor Jill is on renewal leave.
Significant updates will be emailed to the congregation by Chris Atchison (firstname.lastname@example.org),
the team’s chairperson, and brief updates included in the newsletter and bulletin.
The current plan can be accessed at: http://collegehillumc.org/about-us/chum-reopening-plan
What will Pastor Jill do on her renewal leave?
Pastor Jill will spend her time in three ways.
Resting: Pastor Jill will spend time with family, “be-ing” rather than “do-ing” and practicing self-care through exercising, cooking, writing, creating art, and relaxing.
Learning: Pastor Jill loves reading and has compiled a list of books!
Traveling: Pastor Jill and her family will travel internationally. In addition, Pastor Jill will take a spiritual pilgrimage to visit places that have been important in her call to ministry. She plans to spend time in each place in prayer and reflection (possibly in a monastery!) and to visit mentors and pastors who have been instrumental in her life.
Can I contact Pastor Jill while she’s on renewal leave?
In order to return fully rested and re-charged, Pastor Jill requests that people do not contact her during renewal leave.
One of the spiritual disciplines that Pastor Jill is practicing during renewal leave is refraining from social media.
She looks forward to catching up with CHUMites upon her return.
During renewal leave, she will not attend worship or any other activities at CHUM.
There will not be anyone checking her email address May 1-July 24.
Should you email her during that time, you will receive an automated message with instructions about who to contact.
Will her family be taking renewal leave at the same time?
No, her husband, Rev. Dr. Kalaba Chali, continues to serve as the Senior Pastor at Pleasant Valley UMC
and is not taking renewal leave. Their daughter will continue her involvement in both congregations
and you may see Pastor Jill picking up or dropping off for church activities.
Feel free to smile and wave hello, but refrain from extended conversation, asking her how renewal leave is going,
or bringing up church business.
Will we be paying Pastor Jill while she is on renewal leave?
Yes, we will continue to compensate Pastor Jill through the church budget during renewal leave.
Renewal leaves are part of the United Methodist Church’s rhythm of care for their clergy.
Is renewal leave a vacation?
While renewal leave is indeed time off, it is not considered vacation time. Renewal leave is a time that is set-apart for pastors to step away from their ministry setting in order to rest, renew, and re-charge. Pastor Jill still has her typical amount of vacation days for the year. In the Great Plains Conference, appointed clergy have 4 weeks of vacation each appointive year which runs from July to June.
Will Pastor Jill return to ministry at CHUM after renewal leave?
Yes, Pastor Jill will be back in the office on Monday, July 25 and her first Sunday back in the pulpit and worship leadership is Sunday, July 31!
Who approved Pastor Jill’s renewal leave?
At a local level, CHUM’s SPRC and Church Council approved her renewal leave.
In addition, as required in our denomination, our Wichita East District Superintendent (Rev. Dr. Mitch Reece),
the Assistant to the Bishop/Director of Clergy Excellence and the Board of Ordained Ministry Covenant Team Chairperson
for the Great Plains Conference approved her renewal leave.
Who can I contact with questions about the renewal leave?
Prior to the renewal leave, you can contact Pastor Jill at email@example.com or 316-683-4643.
Alternatively, any time, you may contact Diane Gjerstad, chairperson of SPRC, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The church is in good hands during this 12 week period!
We are excited about this opportunity for Pastor Jill to rest and renew and for the congregation
to keep the spirit of CHUM strong and vibrant! May we continue to be a beacon of God’s love in the world!