Sabbatical provision for ministers and lay people in ministry and teaching usually takes the form of a term spent at Westminster (although shorter periods are considered). They are funded by The Cheshunt Foundation. We also welcome Private Sabbaticals.
The Cheshunt Foundation sponsors and finances sabbatical terms for ministers and lay people in ministry and teaching from:
•The Congregational Federation
•Churches in partnership with the Council for World Mission
•The Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion
•The Evangelical Fellowship of Congregational Churches
•The United Reformed Church
•Unaffiliated Congregational Churches
While priority is normally given to those engaged in active ministry in the churches listed above, the Governors will give consideration to applicants from the wider Christian community who wish to pursue serious study to help them in their work.
What can I do with a Sabbatical Term?
Almost anything you choose – but here are some possibilities:
•Private Study – academic research or catch up on your reading, making use of several excellent theological libraries which are available to sabbatical students
•Continue ongoing work towards a project or academic qualification
•Begin a new research project of interest to you – guidance and relevant supervision can be offered
•Learn a biblical language in a term
•Attend classes – any courses or lectures provided by the Cambridge Theological Federation or the Divinity Faculty, Cambridge University, are open to sabbatical students
•Learn with an ecumenical mix of students preparing for Christian ministry in its varied form
•Rest – relaxation and time to recuperate should have a place in every sabbatical programme
•Enjoy Cambridge and the surrounding area with their rich history and natural beauty
•Be inspired – the desire for personal spiritual refreshment, seeking for new vision and sense of purpose in life and ministry must not be overlooked.
Cambridge provides daily opportunity to worship with diverse Christian traditions in the college chapels and local churches in addition to the regular pattern of worship in Westminster College itself. There is a good community spirit in the college and across the Federation. Sabbatical visitors are always warmly welcomed. Students for ministry come from varied backgrounds and Cambridge normally hosts a large community of international scholars and students. You will be among men and women students of all ages, some single, some weekly commuters, some with their families. You may participate in college life as much or as little as you please.
What is on offer?
The Cheshunt Foundation will meet the cost of fees and board and lodging charges; but it should be noted that no meals are provided by the college at weekends. A book grant is available and the Foundation will help with travel costs within Britain. Travel costs from overseas are your responsibility. Accommodation is normally in a single study bedroom in the college. However, each term one self-contained flat is available for a sabbatical visitor accompanied by his/her spouse – a small weekly charge is made for this. (You should check with your church authority whether financial help is available to cover any expenses which are incurred by you due to your absence from duty).
When can I come?
The normal sabbatical period funded by the Foundation is one academic term, i.e. 8 -12 weeks. In certain circumstances, and in liaison with the Council for World Mission, a longer period may be funded, to a maximum of one academic year, where this enables a person from within the CWM partnership to pursue a course of study which would not otherwise be possible. The Michaelmas (late Sept-Dec) and Lent (Jan-Mar) terms are more suitable times for those who wish to participate in academic courses. Fewer courses are offered in the Easter term (Apr-Jun) which might be a better time of year for those whose interests lie mainly in private study. (Overseas applicants should note that Cambridge can be cold in winter, especially in Lent Term: warm clothing is essential.)
How and when do I apply?
Applications are dealt with on a first come, first served basis, so if you are able to be flexible at the outset it may make it easier to offer you a place. The Foundation confirms offers up to 3 years in advance but places are sometimes available at shorter notice. Preliminary enquiries are welcome at any time and applications should be submitted as early as possible to avoid disappointment.
The Cheshunt Foundation
Telephone our Tutorial Office on 01223 33 06 49 and ask for the Director of the Cheshunt Foundation or email your enquiry marked for the attention the Director via the Tutorial Office, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You should indicate when you would like to take your sabbatical and how you plan to use it. The Director will be glad to supply further information you may want; don’t hesitate to ask.
And a word to Church members…
Sabbatical terms benefit the church as well as ministers! They are one way of recharging batteries and gaining fresh inspiration – so you may want to encourage your minister or lay leader to apply.