All licensed and beneficed clergy may apply for a three month period of study leave* after ten years of ordained stipendiary ministry (and every ten years thereafter). Study leave will not normally be granted within the first two years of a new appointment, or within two years of expected retirement.

*Although this is sometimes referred to as ‘sabbatical’, the correct term in the Diocese of London is Study Leave.

The information on this page is also available for download as a PDF.


Study Leave is offered to encourage clergy in developing their ministry and continuing in life-long learning; it is seen as an opportunity to stand back from day-to-day ministry and reflect. A specific goal for the period of study leave will be identified. However, there is also an expectation that clergy will take rest and relaxation seriously during their period of leave.

It is expected that clergy will spend at least half, and usually two-thirds, of their time pursuing their agreed goal – and therefore at least a third in rest and relaxation.


To qualify for study leave clergy will need to have the approval of their Area Bishop and they will agree a programme with their Area Director of Ministry (ADM) or Area Continuing Ministerial Development (CMD) Officer. The officer concerned with Study Leave varies from Area to Area. Detailed discussions will take place with the ADTD or CMD Officer with regards to the programme, which will be submitted in good time before the event.


The key to a successful and enjoyable period of study leave will be effective planning. Your ADM or CMD Officer will expect to assist you in this process and it is important, wherever possible, to begin planning at least a year before hand.


A report, paper, or agreed equivalent, arising from the study leave, will be submitted to the ADM or CMD Officer on returning from study leave. The ADM or CMD Officer will forward a copy of this to the Bishop.


Incumbents are responsible for arranging cover during their absence from the parish, in consultation with their Area Dean.

Financial matters

A bursary is available from Diocesan funds for each approved study leave (there are normally four bursaries available to each episcopal Area each year). The amount of this bursary will be negotiated with the ADM or CMD Officer up to a maximum of £1,500, and it will depend upon the submission of an agreed budget.

In addition to the bursary from the Diocese, funding may be sought from other sources. See over for some sources.

The ADM or CMD Officer is also willing to write to an Incumbent’s PCC suggesting that they may wish to assist financially.

Some top tips

  • Do one or two things well, rather than trying to cram in lots of bits
  • Leave space rather than trying to fill every day (three months seems a long time, but goes very quickly!)
  • Plan a full week in your diary without appointments leading up to your study leave in order to clear your desk
  • Set your email out-of-office assistant to say that all emails will be deleted unread – and do just that! Set up a separate email account for family and friends
  • Consider a supervisor or mentor to accompany you on the study leave

Further information

Please contact your ADM or CMD Officer for further information. If in doubt, please contact the Director of Ministry.

Some additional funding sources

Sion College

Sion College are willing to consider supporting approved diocesan study leave from their members. Membership is open to all clergy in the Diocese for a small fee.

Sion College
020 7353 3899

John Slater Scholarships

Priority will be given to applicants intending to travel to the USA or to the Holy Land. Applications by the autumn of the previous year in which Study Leave is to be taken. Further information and application:

The Revd Dr Anders Bergquist
Vicar, St John’s Wood Church
020 7722 4378

Women’s CME Trust

The aim of the Women’s CME Trust is to further the Continuing Ministerial Education of women in the Church of England and the Scottish Episcopal Church by means of grants to ordained women, female Accredited Lay Workers and religious sisters.

Further details are available from the Church of England website.

Ecclesiastical Insurance Group

EIG run a competitive Ministry Bursary Scheme for clergy across the country. For further information contact EIG: