During the academic year, approximately a dozen individuals spend a period of sabbatical at Westminster College. These include ministers in the United Reformed Church and its ecumenical partners, lay people in various kinds of ministry, and academics engaged in teaching and scholarship. Most come alone, but some bring partners and family members. In many instances, the College provides accommodation for sabbatical guests. Others prefer the privacy of a flat in town or a rented house in the English countryside, coming to College for meals and to use the Library.
Sabbaticals usually take the form of a ten-week term, although shorter periods are considered. The ways to spend this time are endless and include the following:
- Private study or 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 to you by the College’s teaching staff.
- Learn a biblical language in a term.
- Attend classes. Any courses or lectures provided by the Cambridge Theological Federation or the Faculty of Divinity of the University of Cambridge 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.
The historic city of 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 itself. There is a good community spirit in the college and across the Federation, where sabbatical visitors are always warmly welcomed. Students and teaching staff in the Federation’s houses come from varied backgrounds, and Cambridge normally hosts a large community of international scholars and students. You will be among students and scholars of all ages and genders, some single, some weekly commuters, some with their families. You may participate in college life as much or as little as you please.
Sabbaticals at Westminster can be partially funded by the Cheshunt Foundation or the college’s Reid Fellowship. We also warmly welcome a number of people on privately-funded sabbaticals throughout the year. Like Cheshunt or Reid sabbaticals, private sabbaticals are typically taken over the course of an academic term, but their very nature allows us to be more flexible in collaborating with those who seek them.
If you would like more information about pursuing a sabbatical at Westminster College, please contact the Tutorial Office (or on 01223 33 06 49).