Rev. Abbey Sabbatical

Hello Members and Friends of First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia,

Rev. Abbey Tennis will be heading out on a much-deserved sabbatical at the end of this calendar year.  In order to replenish creatively and spiritually, Rev. Abbey will be on sabbatical for twelve weeks beginning Jan 1, 2023. She will return to full time congregational responsibilities at the end of March. During her leave, Rev. Hannah Capaldi will assume duties as Acting Lead Minister.  

For a message to congregants from Rev. Abbey, as she heads on sabbatical, watch here

What will this look like for the congregation?
As Acting Lead Minister, Rev. Hannah will assume Abbey’s usual preaching schedule and will be in the pulpit three times a month, supported by a few fabulous guest preachers.  She will also  supervise the rest of the staff, take the lead in supporting social justice ministries and the Board of Trustees, manage pastoral care needs, and manage any emergencies, should they arise. With the collaboration of staff and lay leadership, we believe this will be a time of minimal disruption to our work of carrying out our mission of awakening love and justice in our lives and the world, and provide an opportunity for increased participation and leadership from you, our members and friends! 

What will committees and teams look like?
One place that will see some change is the presence of a minister at evening meetings.  Since Abbey and Hannah often have different meetings during the week, there will be reduced ability for ministerial presence at so many different committees and teams.  Below is what we’ve communicated to leaders about what to expect for Abbey’s leave:

Board, COVID Response Team, Membership, Finance Working Group, Small Group Ministry, Caring Team: Will retain same level of ministerial presence during Abbey’s leave.

Worship Associates & Social Justice Groups: Will have ministerial presence for trainings/kick-offs and large events, but will be run more independently by lay leadership.

Vespers Services: Will be held by Lay Leaders for January, February, and March.

Facilities & Board Working Groups, e.g. Accessibility Task Force, Friends of 2125: Will have ministerial presence on an as-needed basis.

This congregation has been incredibly gracious in honoring this process and Rev. Hannah has the complete backing of Rev. Abbey, the rest of the staff, and our Board of Trustees in entering the role of Acting Lead Minister, and she looks forward to serving you with her whole heart during this time.  Do not hesitate to reach out to her and to your other dedicated staff and lay leaders for support during this time. 

In faith and with gratitude,

Rev. Abbey and Rev. Hannah

To Be In Touch: 
For ministry and administrative:
For Board related matters:
For all pastoral concerns or community needs:
For pledging info, financial needs, administrative:
For building related matters: