Sabbaticals at Westminster for ministers and lay people in ministry and teaching usually take the form of an academic term spent in College, although shorter periods are considered. They can be partially funded by the Cheshunt Foundation or the college’s Reid Fellowship. We also welcome private sabbaticals funded by an individual’s external sources.

What can I do with a sabbatical term?
Almost anything you choose, but here are some possibilities:

  • 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 Divinity Faculty 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.

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 students 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.

Cheshunt Foundation sabbaticals

The 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 of the Cheshunt Foundation will give consideration to applicants from the wider Christian community who wish to pursue serious study to help them in their work.

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 for Cheshunt sabbaticals 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.

Applications for the Cheshunt sabbatical should be by letter to:

Cheshunt Foundation
Westminster College
Madingley Road

Applications can be also made by email, clearly marked ‘CHESHUNT FOUNDATION SABBATICAL’, to the Tutorial Office. Please 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.

Telephone our Tutorial Office on +44 (0) 1223 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.

Reid Fellowship sabbaticals

As a Resource Centre for Learning of the United Reformed Church, the primary purpose of Westminster College, Cambridge, is to equip the Church for ministry and mission in the twenty-first century by providing courses and programmes of study for the whole church, including initial ministerial training.

The College therefore invites applications for a sabbatical fellowship of one term (ten weeks) in 2021 from scholars or practitioners who wish to pursue research into Christian ministry or Christian education. Applications are welcome from biblical scholars, doctrinal or systematic theologians, church historians or practical theologians whose work can plausibly be applied to Christian ministry or Christian education in the context of mission in the twenty-first century.

Applicants must also either (a) belong to the Reformed tradition (from a member church of the World Communion of Reformed Churches, the Disciples Ecumenical Council, or the Council for World Mission); or (b) clearly and convincingly demonstrate sympathy with the Reformed tradition (from a member church of the World Council of Churches)

What is on offer?
The fellowship will cover:

  1. cost of travel to and from Cambridge, at the beginning and end of term, respectively;
  2. costs of access to academic resources;
  3. accommodation and board within the College’s normal provision (breakfast each day, lunch and supper Monday to Friday);
  4. a bursary (£500) to contribute towards cost of meals when there is no College provision;
  5. reimbursement of expenses incurred in delivering the lectures, seminars or workshops.

The Reid Fellow will have access to working space and other resources in the College library and access to other libraries in the Cambridge Theological Federation.

In exchange, the Fellow will be required to deliver at least three seminars, lectures or workshops on a theme connected with Christian ministry and/or Christian education. These sessions will be delivered in Cambridge and/or elsewhere in the UK. Their topics and settings will be negotiated with the Director of Studies in light of the Fellow’s particular expertise and interests.

When can I come?
The successful candidate will spend one term in residence in the College (either Michaelmas 2021 [5 October – 3 December] or Lent 2022 [18 January – 18 March]) and play a full part in the College community, sharing in its prayer, spiritual and social life and contributing to it when possible.

How and when do I apply?
In addition to a copy of their CV, applicants should provide in their letter of application:

an indication of which term the applicant would like to be resident in Cambridge;
their religious affiliation;
a description of their research project while in Cambridge;
a suggested topic for the three lectures, seminars or workshops, demonstrating its relevance to Christian ministry and mission in the twenty-first century;
an account of what the applicant thinks they would gain from, and contribute to, the Westminster community.

Applications for the Reid Fellowship should be made to:

Tutorial Office
Westminster College
Madingley Road

Applications can be also made by email, clearly marked ‘REID SABBATICAL FELLOWSHIP’, to the Tutorial Office.

The closing date for Lent or Michaelmas 2021 applications is 1 December 2020.

Preliminary enquiries are welcome at any time.

Private sabbaticals

In addition to those funded by the Cheshunt Foundation and the Reid Fellowship, Westminster warmly welcomes a number of people on privately-funded sabbaticals throughout the year. These 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. To begin a conversation about a private sabbatical at the College, please contact the Tutorial Office.

If you would like more information about pursuing a sabbatical at Westminster College, please contact the Tutorial Office (or on 01223 33 06 49).