Reverend Jude Geiger’s Sabbatical Leave

December 25, 2019 to July 27, 2020

The Rev. Jude Geiger began serving as our minister in July 2013, so the 2019 summer marked the beginning of his seventh year with the UUFH. In Unitarian Universalist congregations, there is a tradition of the minister being away for sabbatical leave every four to seven years. Following that tradition, Rev. Jude is taking his contracted sabbatical leave beginning December 25, 2019 and returning July 27, 2020.

What Is a Sabbatical?

Sabbatical is a spiritual practice relating to a period of rest, usually after six years. The root word literally means “ceasing.” The longer time of sabbatical rest in a seventh year mirrors the practice of a weekly sabbath each seventh day. The average ministerial tenure in a congregation is five to seven years, so the practice of sabbatical provides an intentional time of renewal, rejuvenation and learning to help make longer-term ministry healthier and more sustainable for both the minister and the congregation.
What Are Rev. Jude’s Sabbatical Plans?
During this extended leave, Rev. Jude will be entering a program of language and cultural immersion in Mexico for the first three months, and then a focused study on womanist, mujerista and indigenous theologians and ethicists. He will also be attending several denominational, interfaith and anti-racism conferences in the latter portion of the sabbatical.

Our Shared Ministry

The Fellowship has a long history of shared ministry and shared leadership. We believe that all members are called upon to serve one another and their religious community. The minister’s sabbatical is a time to draw on our strengths as a congregation, a time for personal and institutional growth, and an opportunity for renewal in commitment to the Fellowship. The Board of Trustees and all our committees will continue to serve on behalf of the UUFH as a whole.

Sunday Services

We will have a rich list of area UU clergy and community organizers leading worship with our experienced Sunday Program Committee and our worship associates. Our former intern, Rev. Greta Jo Seidohl, will also return to preach twice a month and lead major services like Easter, Stewardship and Flower Communion.

The Sunday Program Committee (SPC) will be responsible for each Sunday’s service during the sabbatical. Members of the congregation, ministers and other guest speakers will be leading our worship services.
The Long Island UU ministers help each other’s congregations during periods of sabbatical leaves. Each month one of Rev. Jude’s colleagues will present a worship service. The following services are already scheduled:

January 5: Reverend Margie Allen

UU Fellowship at Stony Brook

February 2: Reverend Jennifer Brower
UU Congregation at Shelter Rock

March 1: Reverend Kymberly Quinn Johnson
UU Congregation of the South Fork

April 5: Reverend Valerie Fresemen
First Universalist Church of Southold

May 3: Reverend Dr. Linda Anderson
UU Fellowship at Stony Brook

June 7: Reverend Kymberly Quinn Johnson
UU Congregation of the South Fork

When I Need a Minister, Whom Do I Call?

If there is an emergency during Rev. Jude’s sabbatical, please contact our Pastoral Care Committee conveners: Gerri Farrell,; 631-335-6644, and Sue McGovern,; 631-239-5638. They will be able to assist you in reaching a local UU minister who will be available for you to consult with.

When I Have Other Concerns, Whom Do I Call?

We are also fortunate to have highly qualified and experienced staff and lay leaders. Here is information about whom to contact in various areas as needed:
● Care Share needs: Judie Gardner,; 631-549-9191
● Committee on Ministry: Carol Towne,; 631-543-6624
● Communications: Liza Burby,; 631-921-9710
● Fellowship Connections: Kristina Heinemann,; 631-385-3121
● Pastoral needs: Gerri Farrell,; 631-271-5989, 631-335-6644, Sue McGovern,; 631-239-5638
● Rites of Passage (weddings, dedications, memorial services): Susie Byrnes,; 631-427-9547
● Sunday Services (Sunday Program Committee): Theresa Karp,; 631-486-4303

If you’re not sure whom to contact, this list of people is a good place to start.

Thoughts & Prayers, Joys & Concerns

During Rev. Jude’s sabbatical, we will continue to recognize the joys and concerns of our Fellowship family. Congregants who want to have something mentioned during the Joys & Concerns meditation of our Sunday services or have information emailed for Thoughts & Prayers should contact Susie Byrnes,; 631-427-9547.

Notes About Our Staff

Our staff’s duties will remain unchanged during Rev. Jude’s sabbatical. In the absence of the minister, our staff will report to the president of the Board of
Trustees, Nikki Willard.

Susie Byrnes, our Fellowship Administrator, will continue to perform her usual office duties, which constitute a very full 33 hours a week with the support of many volunteers. It would be inappropriate to ask her to attend to any extra questions or tasks.

Danielle Burby, our Religious Education Coordinator, oversees our children’s religious education program in a 20-hour a week position. She will continue to make our children’s classes her focus.

Jie Yi, our Music Director, will continue to work with our choir and the Sunday Program Committee to provide music during our services.

Bridgette Nicolini, our Communications Specialist, will continue to maintain our website and post submitted items there.

Contacting Rev. Jude During Sabbatical

Because the sabbatical is designed to be a complete break from ministerial responsibilities, there should be no need to contact Rev. Jude while he is on leave. (If he posts on social media, you are welcome to interact there, as you would if you ran into him in the grocery store, etc. However, please refrain from sharing anything related to UUFH during this time.) If an occasion arises requiring Rev. Jude’s attention, please first get in touch with one of the following people, who will in turn contact him as needed:
● Susie Byrnes, UUFH Office Administrator,; 631-427-9547
● Nikki Willard, Board President,; 516-380-6248