Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Sabbatical Edition

Unity of Tustin
Sabbatical 2017
Frequently Asked Questions

This information has been prepared by the Sabbatical Team for the Unity of Tustin community

Sabbatical Team
Debbie dela Cuesta         Christy Sternlicht
Gary Conway                    Stedney Phillips
Rev. Carolyne Mathlin

Contact Info:
Phone: 714-730-6392


Purpose of the Sabbatical Team:

Assist in the big-picture planning for Rev. Carolyne’s upcoming spiritual renewal. Ensure that all the major components of Rev. Carolyne’s absence are addressed in a prayerful and wise way. Serve as a communication link to the community, be available for questions and to hear concerns.


What is a sabbatical?

The term sabbatical actually is derived from the biblical Sabbath which services an ancient human need to build periods of rest and rejuvenation into a lifetime.

A sabbatical is a rest from work; a break, a period of paid leave granted for study or travel, renewal and inspiration.

A sabbatical is a life [and soul-changing time] a time when perspective and the Holy Spirit come together.

Many churches—large and small—have created Sabbatical policies for their ministers.


Why do pastors need a sabbatical?

Sabbatical leave is an important part of regaining and rekindling focus, commitment, passion, and skill for ministry.

It is a time for the Senior Minister to shift gears in order to rest, come apart, study, reflect, and travel in order to return refreshed and renewed in body, mind, and spirit.


What is Unity of Tustin’s Sabbatical Policy?

In January 2016, the Board created a policy that the Senior Minister receive three months off every fifth year of employment for a time of personal and spiritual renewal.


Ministry and Sabbatical Leadership

Stedney Phillips, Executive Director
Operations and Implementation of the Vision

Gail Hamley
Licensed Unity Teacher, Prayer Support, will speak most Sundays

Sunday Worship Team
Facilitate and/or lead components of the service

Our Staff, Board, and Ministry Teams
Will maintain their commitment to excellence in all that they do providing presence and service to the community to keep the momentum and focus of ministry going


When will Rev. Carolyne’s Sabbatical take place?

June 5, 2017 to September 5, 2017

Rev. Carolyne’s last Sunday before sabbatical will be June 4 and her first Sunday service back will be September 10. Rev. Carolyne and Gail will both be present at those two services.


What will Rev. Carolyne do on sabbatical?

Rev. Carolyne shared in her personal reflections to the community that she intended for this time to be “one of rest, retreat, spiritual renewal, empowerment for myself and the community, service, professional education, and spiritual education.”

This may comprise of life-giving practices such as, “just simply being home, meditating, practicing yoga, cooking, reading, and gardening….and a time of travel and retreat.”

She will participate in two retreats:

Retreat 1: Sacred Number ~ the Matrix of the Universe the Fifth Liberal Art Arithmetica in Chartres, France with Jain, Carolyn Myss, Ruth Cunningham, Apela Colorado, Jim Garrison, Andrew Harvey, Karen Rivers, Peggy Rubin, and Banafsheh Sayyad.

Retreat 2: Mystical Andalusia, Garden Amidst the Flames, Ibn Arabi, Rumi and the Dance of Oneness in Granada, Cordoba and Seville, Spain with Andrew Harvey, Banafsheh Sayyad, and Jim Garrison.


Who do I Contact while Rev. Carolyne is away?

For Prayer & Spiritual Counseling
Call 714-730-3444
For prayer support: ext. 121
For spiritual counseling: ext. 101

For everything else
Call Stedney Phillips, 714-730-6392, as first point of contact, and she will direct the call.



Senior Minister’s salary and medical benefits continue

What are the sabbatical-related expenses?

  • Licensed Unity teacher travel and stipend
  • Miscellaneous expenses related to the sabbatical

Who covers the expenses of the sabbatical?

  • The church covers sabbatical expenses and Minister’s salary, including the use of existing Continuing Education funds
  • Senior Minister covers any travel and personal expenses


Will Rev. Carolyne be in contact with the congregation when she is on sabbatical?

An important piece of the sabbatical is to allow the minister to come apart from the church and congregation in order to make room for, and to experience the fullness of the time away. As a general rule, the minister will not be in contact with church members and will disconnect from social media. To honor the intent of the sabbatical, please refrain from contacting Rev. Carolyne.

In case of an emergency, please contact Stedney Phillips, 714-730-6392.


What will be happening at Unity of Tustin while Rev. Carolyne is on sabbatical?

Continued, rich Sunday Experience, workshops, intensives and classes with internationally recognized spiritual teachers. An opportunity for leadership and community growth.


How can I learn more about the sabbatical?

The Sabbatical Planning Team has scheduled two gatherings for the community:
March 26, 1:00 p.m. – This will be an informational time as the team will share and be available to answer questions.
May 28, 1:00 p.m. will be an open forum. This will be an opportunity for the community to reflect, and share thoughts and insights on the sabbatical.