• Pastor Bill

Why Sabbaticals?

January 31, 2022


A sabbatical is an extended time away from one’s regular work

to be refreshed and energized for a return to that work.


I am taking a sabbatical this year.

I am very excited. Thank you!


My sabbatical begins on May 16. I will be back to work on September 6.

My sabbatical plans include Norway, Denmark, Northern Spain, Costa Rica, California and Algona.


My sabbatical was originally scheduled for 2021.

The pandemic delayed it.

This year a lot of my plans still hinge on the pandemic.

Your prayers are appreciated.


Sabbaticals are a strategy to lengthen pastoral careers by preventing burnout.

Pastors in the ELCA have 8 years of education behind their collars.

That is four years of college followed by 4 years of seminary.

For a 40-year career the cost of those 8 years is reasonable.

For a 20-year career that cost is all but prohibitive.


All jobs have their hardships and challenges.

For clergy those hardships and challenges include:

  • modest salaries,

  • unusual work schedules (weekends, holidays, 24 hours on-call, etc.),

  • high levels of creative output (like writing a book every year), and

  • high demands on emotional energy (attending to births, graduations, weddings, retirements, crises and deaths… for 150 families).


Being a pastor is often a great vocation. It is also often exhausting.


While I’m on sabbatical, the people of Saint James will be served and cared for by Pastor Sarah Trone Garriott, Deacon Larry Christensen and Vicar Tori Richard, as well as the rest of our staff and membership.


I love you.

I’m thankful for you.

I’m looking forward to my time away,

and my return to work in September.


Peace & Justice,

Pastor Bill



Copyright 2022, Pastor Bill Bernau.





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