Rev. Jennifer’s Sabbatical: an important event for First Church!

Sabbaticals can be as worthwhile to members as to the minister. Many of us remember Revs. Drew Kennedy’s and Dena McPhetres’ sabbaticals fondly. There were exciting pulpit guests and opportunities for personal growth.


It’s a total release from the demanding role of the ministry for a paid period when Senior Minister Rev. Jennifer Nordstrom can refresh, renew, study and envision ways to encourage sustained excellence going forward. Jennifer’s sabbatical is scheduled for a five-month period from February 20 until July 20, 2023. 


Both interdenominational and UUA research report that the ministry is a high stress profession with lots of burnout, even in small churches. The job is far more than writing sermons and leading Sunday services. Rev. Jennifer ‘s week combines long hours and an ever-changing combination of Board of Trustees and committee meetings, denominational matters, weddings, memorial services, family and individual crises and civic engagement. All require thought and preparation. As one of the largest UU congregations in the US, First Church is a complex operation and a particularly demanding job for our Senior Minister. 


Luckily, we have both a carefully devised plan and a perfect team of dedicated and experienced leaders in place. Revs. Dena McPhetres and Kimberlee Tomczak Carlson and Director of Administration Jean Johnson will divide responsibilities in dealing with the Board, staff and committees. An experienced Assistant Sabbatical Minister, Jim Foti, will serve on a part-time basis, leading services one Sunday per month and working with committees. The Committee on Ministry will keep you in touch with important aspects of Jennifer’s sabbatical. A Sabbatical Committee will work with guests and handle details. 

Questions? Contact on of us on the Committee on Ministry.
Pete Koneazny, Laura Maker, Kit Vernon, Eric Heilig 

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