Sabbatical Pastor Position - Brookline, MA

December 16, 2021

The United Parish in Brookline seeks a Sabbatical Pastor to guide and support the congregation and staff while the Senior Pastor is on a sabbatical funded by a grant from the Lilly Endowment. The grant provides an opportunity for the Senior Pastor and the congregation to explore “finding the creative spark of God.”

The Sabbatical Pastor will serve as the Head of Staff with a full range of pastoral and administrative responsibilities for 18 weeks from Monday, February 28, 2022 - Thursday, June 30, 2022.

As an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, the United Parish is committed to increasing the diversity of our staff and faith community. Candidates who contribute to that goal and are committed to working in a diverse cultural environment are encouraged to apply.

United Parish in Brookline is affiliated with the United Church of Christ, the United Methodist Church, and the American Baptist Churches. In 1970, three Brookline Protestant churches, the Harvard Church (United Church of Christ, UCC), St Mark's Methodist Church, and The Baptist Church in Brookline merged in a bold ecumenical experiment that became The United Parish in Brookline. They brought together varied denominational traditions, styles of worship, and theological outlooks, yet they shared faith in a God made known in Jesus Christ, a commitment to the Church, and a belief that they were called to something new.

Fifty years later, United Parish is a vibrant, diverse community that continues to celebrate and witness to that vision—a community from a variety of Christian and other traditions, some without experience in organized religion—all seeking to grow spiritually. Our ministries include music, education, service, and fellowship. Enlivening and enriching worship is the core of our life together. More than ten years ago we engaged in a “visioning process.”

The process resulted in United Parish organizing its collective life around five themes:
1. Exalting in worship
2. Deepening in spirituality and Christian faith
3. Gathering in community
4. Stretching into justice
5. Stewarding our resources

Our vision states: “United Parish was created as a joyful experiment in ecumenical unity to honor God and those in need. Ours is a living, changing, dynamic community that we depend on to challenge and sustain us.”

We are engaged in the community and continuously seek ways to serve the community at large and to advance justice. For example, Thrifty Threads is the only thrift store in Brookline providing high quality, modestly priced clothes and household items to residents of Brookline and the surrounding towns and cities. Last June, we voted unanimously to become a member of the Greater-Boston Interfaith Organization. In August, we welcomed the Brookline Food Pantry which needed larger quarters to meet ever growing needs.

In October 2021, we launched a Negro Spirituals Royalties Initiative, a racial justice initiative centered on the musical legacy of enslaved African Americans. We have started the practice of collecting "royalties" for the Negro Spirituals we sing in worship and giving them to the Hamilton-Garrett Center for Music and the Arts.

Staff and Volunteers United Parish boldly proclaims that the ministers are the people of United Parish. The ministries of United Parish are supported by active and committed parishioners. The lay leadership team includes the Moderator, Treasurer, and Clerk as well as the leadership of each Ministry Team.

We seek a Sabbatical Pastor who will join our staff and leadership in its ongoing ethos of collaborative ministry and open communication. The called and employed ministers and staff of United Parish are gifted and dedicated individuals who work together to advance the vision of the church grounded in the love of Christ.

The Sabbatical Pastor will serve as the Head of Staff and will directly oversee the Associate Pastor, Minister of Music, Parish Administrator and Multimedia Producer.
Church employees include:
Associate Pastor, Full time, who supervises Nursery Supervisor, 5 hours/week
Seminarian 12-15 hours/week (AP supervises during sabbatical)
Minister of Music, 30 hours/week, who supervises Four choir section leaders, 5-10 hours/week
Parish Administrator, Full time, who supervises Accounting Administrator, 18-20 hours/week
Facilities Manager, Full time, who supervises Two Sextons, who share up to 36-50 hours/week
Multimedia Producer, 10-15 hours/week

Sabbatical Theme:
Finding the Creative Spark of God Our grant application specifies activities for the congregation in “finding the creative spark of God,” including workshops in art, poetry, drumming and dance with both internal and external facilitators, and taking worshipful walks and strolls while our Senior Pastor visits monasteries and hikes mountains in Africa and Europe. We have already taken a number of congregational walks and strolls in 2020-21, which can continue in 2022. Given the upheaval of the pandemic and the extra demands placed on staff during this time, we plan to defer our workshops until after our Senior Pastor returns from sabbatical, so that we may more fully integrate them into our life together.

During the sabbatical, the ministers, along with ordained and non-ordained parishioners, will plan and lead worship and offer homilies that honor the seasons of Lent, Holy Week, Eastertide and Pentecost, while also finding ways to keep alive the theme of “unleashing the divine, creative spark of God in each of us, asking the questions: where do we experience the beauty and love of God, in the world, in ourselves, and in our neighbors?

During the 18 weeks between Monday, February 28, 2022 and Thursday, June 30, 2022, the Sabbatical Pastor will provide a presence in worship, with at least 6 preaching opportunities; offer pastoral care and visitation in coordination with the Associate Pastor; support worship and programming related to finding the creative spark of God, and in conjunction with the Associate Pastor, Minister of Music and Seminarian, plan and conduct Lent and Holy Week programs and services.

Tasks and Responsibilities Include, but are not limited to:

  •  In partnership with Associate Pastor, Minister of Music and Seminarian, plan and lead worship, reflecting God’s presence through prayer and proclamation. Facilitate weekly worship meetings, and continue the practice of honoring the gifts and experience that each staff member brings to the overall collaborative effort.
  • Participate in worship for 16 of the 17 Sundays; preach at least 6 times
  • Lead in facilitating the planning and implementation of Lent, Holy Week and Easter programming and worship
  • In partnership with Associate Pastor, provide pastoral care, to embody Christ’s compassion through care and visitation, get to know and show curiosity in members of the congregation
  • In partnership with the Moderator and Associate Pastor, provide leadership with the Church Council and prepare for the All Parish meeting, which will include the election of officers and the adoption of the 2023 budget
  • In partnership with Associate Pastor, Moderator, Treasurer, and Accounting Administrator, facilitate the development and execution of the stewardship campaign and prepare 2023 budget and support the ongoing work of the Financial Planning Team
  • Work with our staff and Adult Deepening (Education) Team to facilitate a class or small group gathering related to the theme of Finding the Creative Spark of God
  • Serve as Head of Staff, help lead and convene weekly staff meetings; Support staff members in their work, hold one-on-one introductory meetings with each staff member, and continue with individual biweekly check-ins with Associate Pastor, Minister of Music and Parish Administrator Conduct and complete staff evaluations for Associate Pastor, Minister of Music, Parish Administrator at the end of the sabbatical period Other duties as needed

Skills and Experience
At least 5 years of ministry experience, including experience as head of a multi-staff congregation; interim training and experience are welcome, but not required.

Compensation is competitive and aligned with experience at $1,500 per week. Vacation This sabbatical period is 18 weeks and 17 Sundays. The Sabbatical Pastor may be away for vacation of one full week and one weekend.

To apply for the position or to request additional information, please contact: 

Contact: Kent French

Address: 210 Harvard Street Brookline MA 02446

Phone: 617-277-6860

Email: Click to email