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Clergy Continuing Education and Sabbatical Leave Guidelines

These guidelines for clergy continuing education and sabbatical leave planning are based on several assumptions:

1. That the ministry is both a vocation and a profession. As a vocation, it is a response to God’s call for an individual to use his/her gifts in service to God’s people. As professionals, ministers have a specialized body of knowledge that they apply in specific ways to attempt to address particular human needs.

2. That this body of knowledge and its application is not static but continues to grow and develop.

3. That seminary is simply the beginning of professional training. Its purpose is to equip ministers with the tools for a lifetime of continuing professional development.

4. That it is the responsibility of a professional to continually update his/her professional expertise that s/he might serve his/her constituents better.

5. That ministerial continuing education is to enhance ministerial skills and the understanding of the Christian faith.

It is for these reasons that all ministerial calls in the Presbytery of the Western Reserve include minimums of both time and money for professional continuing education (see latest presbytery minimum terms of call). These guidelines are intended to assist both clergypersons and churches in using these resources wisely.

Churches are encouraged to consider providing similar provisions for other program staff.

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