Taking time out: 30th Ministry Bursary Awards to support clergy sabbaticals

09 July 2018

Over a thousand members of the clergy have benefitted from an award in its 30 year history

  • The awards support a diverse range of pilgrimages, lifelong dreams and ministerial development projects
  • Applications can now be made for those wishing to take a sabbatical in 2019
Specialist insurer Ecclesiastical has opened its annual Ministry Bursary Awards (MBAs).  The MBAs, now in their 30th year, are open to all members of the clergy from Anglican Christian faiths and aim to provide financial support for sabbatical breaks and projects. 
Since launching in 1987, the awards have supported over a thousand members of the clergy and funded a wide range of projects. In 2018 70 applicants each received a grant of between £400 and £1,000.
Michael Angell, church operations director at Ecclesiastical said: “We have always tried to support sabbatical projects that provide personal development opportunities for members of the clergy as well as those that are of benefit to the wider church and the communities it supports.”
Over the years the insurer has seen a diverse range of projects from ministerial development, pilgrimages and the pursuit of lifelong dreams.
“It is exciting to see how the projects we fund have diversified over the years as the development needs and interests of our clergy continue to change and adapt to modern times.” Michael added. 
“At Ecclesiastical we see the contribution our clergy make to our communities and it is invaluable however, it can also come with a huge amount of personal responsibility. The fundamental purpose of a sabbatical is to have time for rest, renewal and recreation and return refreshed so it’s wonderful that our scheme can help support this.” 
One person who has benefited from the MBAs is The Venerable Dr Anne Dawtry, Archdeacon of Halifax, who took a sabbatical last year to carry out a research project. 
She said: “The opportunity to take a sabbatical can be literally life changing and life giving to clergy, most of whom work long hours, sometimes in difficult contexts. In these circumstances sabbaticals give a much needed opportunity to step back from the rigours of daily ministry and to draw breath, professionally, physically and spiritually. 
“I was grateful to the Ministry Bursary Awards for a grant towards my sabbatical last year, the first I had taken in over 20 years.  As a result of the award I was able to visit every cathedral and greater parish church in England researching what opportunities they provide for casual visitors to pray and to find out about the Christian faith. I am now developing an online toolkit to help any interested church to carry out a self-audit on their own ministry to visitors.  Hopefully, my research will be of benefit, not just to parishes in my own Diocese but also to the wider church. Most importantly the sabbatical helped me to renew and refresh myself for ministry going forward.” 
For those wishing to take a sabbatical during 2019, Ecclesiastical’s Ministry Bursary Awards is now open for applications, the closing date is 30 September 2018.