Clergy Continuing Formation

It is expected that clergy serving full-time in congregations or other communities of faith be granted two weeks leave (separate from vacation leave) for professional development. The cost of continuing education courses and programs usually are divided between the clergyperson, the congregation or other community of faith he or she serves, and the diocese. Guidelines for diocesan funding are noted below.

Related areas

1. Areas related to the ministry of the theologian, entrepreneur and faith community organizer

  • Be/become aware of developments in Systematic Theology
  • Professional interests discovered in seminary or not covered in seminary
  • Ethics/Moral Theology
  • Sacramental Theology
  • Scripture

2. Skills

  • Preaching
  • Teaching
  • Community organizing

3. Inter-religious opportunities, especially with Jews and Muslims

4. Development of ecclesiology and ongoing changes and challenges in the Church

5.  Training in Spirituality and Spiritual Direction

6.  Integrative theological and experiential study


Clergy sabbaticals are to be encouraged; one-third of the expense up to the designated limits according to funding guidelines noted below may be available for sabbaticals. The current diocesan policy regarding sabbatical leave is as follows:

Two weeks per year of service in the congregation for Sabbatical Leave are to be available after the third year, and cumulative through the sixth year. The clergyperson will be paid full salary and benefits while on sabbatical. Sabbatical arrangements shall be made in full consultation with the Vestry or Mission Council to insure benefits for the parish as well as for the clergyperson. Congregations and/or communities of faith are encouraged to contribute an amount equal to two weeks’ compensation to a designated sabbatical fund each year. The purpose of this fund is to allow the community of faith to obtain adequate clergy coverage during the sabbatical. Another fund to assist the clergy person’s sabbatical expenses may be established or combined with a budgeted professional development item in the annual budget.

Diocesan Funding

Professional development grants are available to canonically resident clergy of the diocese and clergy licensed to officiate serving as priests in charge of congregations. Funds are made available from the Mary E. Johnston Fund; Ms. Johnston was a relative of William Cooper Procter. The Johnston Fund was gifted to the diocesan bishop and remains under the Bishop’s discretion. The Bishop has designated one-third of the proceeds from that fund for clergy professional development and has appointed a committee to oversee the grant application process. Canon Carter-Edmands is the staff liaison for the committee. The committee acts on applications four times a year, with the following deadlines:

  • March 1 for consideration the week of March 15
  • June 1 for consideration the week of June 15
  • September 1 for consideration the week of September 15
  • December 1 for consideration the week of December 15

Parochial (Parish) Priests

For one-time programs: the lesser amount of 1/3 the cost of the program or $1,500.

For multi-year advanced degree programs (assuming the degree program is offered by an accredited institution): the lesser amount of 1/3 the cost of the program or $2,500.
 A yearly maximum of $2,500 for any individual.


Deacons are not compensated financially for their ministry in the diocese and there is a strong and explicit expectation that the congregations, programs or agencies the deacon is serving will provide the additional half of the cost of the program. Congregations are strongly encouraged to set aside funds to assist with the cost of a deacon’s sabbatical program and plans.

For one-time programs: the lesser amount of 1/2 the cost of the program or $2,000.

For multi-year advanced degree programs (assuming the degree program is offered by an accredited institution): the lesser amount of 1/2 the cost of the program or $3,000. 
A yearly maximum of $3,000 for any individual.

Extraparochial Clergy and Lay Diocesan Staff

Applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis up to a yearly maximum of $3,000 for any individual.

Additional Information

Transitional deacons and priests funded through the diocesan Residency Program are not eligible to apply for professional development funds.

Priority will be given to those people who have not recently received professional development funds.
 Priority will also be given to programs with a direct and immediate impact on the ministry of the community of faith and/or the diocese. 10% of the awarded grant will be withheld pending completion of the evaluation form at the conclusion of the funded program. Funding of $300 for CREDO is available, which does not count against the annual limit.

Application Instructions

  • Complete the one-time event application Clergy Professional Development – One-Time Event or the Clergy Professional Development – Multi-Year Application. You may submit it electronically.
  • Have your senior warden or supervisor complete the endorsement form Professional Development – Senior Warden Supervisor Endorsement and submit it electronically.
  • At the conclusion of the program, complete the evaluation form Professional Development – Evaluation.
  • Submit these forms electronically to Sherri Martin at All clergy are expected to participate in professional development activities every year and to maintain a record of those activities.