Dreaming of a sabbatical?

In case you missed it on the first time of advertising, we draw your attention to the fact that applications are invited by the Alastair Haggart Bursary Fund Committee for the 2023 award. The Bursary is awarded annually in memory of Bishop Haggart, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church (1977-85). It aims to help finance sabbaticals or other similar leave of absence on the part of full-time ministers at a stage in the person’s life when such an experience will significantly enhance his or her development. The outcomes of the project should also be of benefit to the wider Church.

Due to the recent generous legacy received from the estate of the late Mrs Mary Haggart, awards totaling up to £2,500 will be made in 2023. The Committee will convene in mid-January 2023 to make the adjudication and the winner/s will be notified by the end of that month.

Grants in recent years have funded a wide variety of pursuits from studies of ‘pilgrimage’ and ‘interim ministry’ to a sabbatical in the Tantur Institute of Ecumenical Research. Another recipient organised a trip to Finland to research the St Thomas Mass and look at the way in which the Lutheran Church uses contemporary music in its services, before considering how this format could be adapted and offered within the SEC. Yet another beneficiary produced a meditative Lent Study Guide based on a daily artwork, having spent time in art galleries in Washington and New York.

Awards have been won by clergy and Lay Readers alike, an example of the latter being Kate Sainsbury’s study leave spent considering how an ‘intentional emergent community’ and a fresh expression of Church might be created through the foundation and nurturing of the Appletree Community, and how Scottish and international L’Arche communities might inform this development. Kate writes:

The Award represented the SEC’s support for Appletree Community and me. That was the first benefit: affirming my belief in my calling to create this Community. Secondly, the Award opened doors, promoted relationships. Thirdly, it gave opportunities to reflect, strengthening me to lead the community, shaping stories I tell at national and international conferences.  In 2022, during Learning Disabilities Awareness week, I spoke of Love, which the Chair, a senior figure in the Scottish Housing world, picked up on. He asked ‘why are we not all motivated by Love as we deliver services?’ There was widespread assent within that secular gathering. 

Five years on, Appletree Community has become a reality. One man, my beloved, vulnerable son, now aged 36, has left hospital and now lives in his own home. He is healing from trauma. He feels safe much of the time, his language grows, he is encouraged and praised for what he can do. That is a human success story.  But Appletree Community is much more. Appletree is a prophetic model, recognised nationally and internationally, showing that alternative ways of caring for people with profound disabilities are possible. Secular leaders welcome our experience, to improve other lives; a collaborative research project on Appletree Community as a Case Study, with Portsmouth University and Napier University, my son and myself, begins in the New Year. That makes Appletree a light in the darkness. The relational aspect of the community is our foundation: we are grounded in prayer, mutual-dependence, learning, thanksgiving, repentance, forgiveness and joy. Thank you to the Alastair Haggart Bursary Fund Committee for believing in us.

If reading of these experiences has fanned into flame a sabbatical dream within your heart and mind, why not consider applying? Simply complete the application form found on our Resources page here, and return it to the SEI Administrator by Monday 9 January 2023.

Photo courtesy of PAMIS www.pamis.org.uk shows (from left) Bidemi, Maureen and Louis in the courtyard at Appletree