Sabbatical Ministry Updates

Greetings TUUC!

I’m so enthused to be serving as your Sabbatical Minister this summer and fall. Now that my ministry term with you has begun, I thought it’d be helpful to offer some orientation and details on what all of us can expect from the ministry in the months ahead. I know we’re all looking forward to the transitions that lay ahead as plans for the new church year begin to take shape — an important one being how we’ll begin to gather in-person again as safely as possible, and how our Sunday services might transition into a hybrid format for online + in-person worship. More on that below, but first I want to share a few specifics with you.

Length of Sabbatical
As you’re aware, Reverend Linda is on sabbatical and will return to the pulpit Sunday, October 31. While my sabbatical ministry with you last January was a one-month term, this new sabbatical term will be four-months long, from July 1 through October 31.

Rev. Joe’s Hours
The scope of my sabbatical ministry affords a 1/3 time basis (10-13 hours per week). This is a very significant reduction in ministry hours from what you’re accustomed to with Reverend Linda’s full-time ministry, so I ask for your support in setting our expectations accordingly. For instance:

  • My responses to your communications may take a few days longer than you may be accustomed to, except in cases of pastoral urgency
  • During July and August I’ll attend meetings of our core committees/teams to get up to speed on their work/plans, but thereafter I’ll likely stay apprised of developments by checking in with committee chairs
  • I’m still a transit operator for King County Metro part-time (my stop-gap job during ministerial formation). That means my availability during the week is typically 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
  • You can always reach me at

Libby’s Hours
Just a reminder that Libby’s regular days off are Fridays and Saturdays. This applies to her inbox hours and her working-from-home hours, so please expect her to respond to your communications Sunday through Thursday. The deadline for ENews submissions remains Tuesdays. I will be available for any emergency needs that arise on her days off.

As a faith community, we can support the blessings of this season of sabbatical, rest, and renewal by remaining mindful of how extraordinarily challenging and demanding the past year-and-a-half of pandemic operations has been for Libby Ball as Church Administrator and Nancy Slocum as Director of Religious Exploration for Children and Youth. In light of this, just as many of you take vacations this summer with your own families and beloveds, I ask you to support our staff as they do the same. I’ve asked Libby and Nancy if they’d like some vacation time of their own before the new church year begins in September; Nancy has decided to pass at this time, and Libby has decided to take vacation the first week of August. This means the TUUC “office” will effectively be closed Friday, July 30 through Saturday, August 7, and I will remain available for any emergency needs that arise during that week.  Please plan any administrative support your committees or teams may need accordingly.

Sunday Services
After this summer’s Puget Sound Worship Collaborative services end on Sunday, August 29, we’ll return to our own TUUC Sunday Services the following week on Sunday, September 5.

Coming Together
Finally, I want to assure you the Coming Together Team is hard at work right now compiling your survey responses about reopening the building. As minister I’m a part of that team, which is holding regular meetings and formulating plans for how we can begin to gather together again as safely as possible. We hope that will be in September/October given current COVID conditions in Pierce County. Further information, updates, and plans will be posted on our website and in the ENews as they become known, so stay tuned!

It’s good to be with you all again… If you have any questions or concerns, please email me directly anytime you wish.

Be well as can be, with blessings,
Reverend Joe