church life united methodist church

How to Request Paternity Leave as a Pastor in the UMC

The Book of Discipline provides for both paternity and maternity leave for pastors. To initiate the leave a letter from to the Staff Parish Committee is necessary. I have included the text of my letter, in case any one out there is looking to take some time away for the birth of your child. You can find all that you need in ¶356.


Staff Parish Relations Committee
c/o FNAME LNAME, Chair
The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection
13720 Roe Avenue
Leawood, KS 66224

Dear Staff Parish Relations Committee,

My wife, FNAME, and I are expecting the birth of our first child in January. The current due date is MMMM DD, YYYY. I would like to would like to request Paternity Leave according to the provisions found in ¶356 of the 2008 Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church.

I would like to take full time leave beginning MMMM DD and continuing until MMMM DD, YYYY. I will make arrangements with my supervisor, FNAME LNAME, for complete coverage during these # weeks. I would like to take part time leave beginning MMMM DD and continuing until MMMM DD, YYYY. I will be available for weekend worship responsibilities, important scheduled meetings and will be available by and responsive to email communication during these # weeks. I would like to return to full time responsibility beginning on MMMM DD, YYYY.

I will continue to be in conversation with FNAME LNAME (Supervisor) to address any particular considerations for coverage or other issues regarding this leave request. Will you please let me know what, if any, additional next steps need to be taken to receive this leave? Thank you for your time and consideration!

Grace and Peace,

Andrew Conard


XC: District Superintendent

My Supervisor

Director of Human Resources

11 replies on “How to Request Paternity Leave as a Pastor in the UMC”

Andrew – Thanks for posting this great example of a paternity request. I especially thank you for making the commitment (and public witness) to taking paternity leave. As someone who has taken this leave, I can affirm this has made me a better parent, husband, and pastor, and it is important that more clergy take this time provided by Discipline. My experience was that lay people (and some clergy) don’t always “get” why male clergy are afforded this leave (especially in a small-church, rural setting), so educating the congregation and affirming the commitment to family is essential.

As I just came off paternity leave in August, I would point out that the process begins with Staff-Parish (and obligatory consultation with supervisor/senior pastor/DS), but ends with approval by the Board of Ordained Ministry’s Executive Committee & the Bishop/Cabinet. All to be completed 90 days prior to the beginning of the leave. (I ran a bit behind schedule…)

Thanks for reminding us all of the importance of doing it right, and I’m glad you’re taking the leave!

I don’t have a book of discipline, and am curious. How many weeks are allowed? Are they paid or unpaid? Thanks. And best wishes on the upcoming event!

I took Paternity Leave July-September (8 weeks). I personally don’t understand a part-time leave.

Christopher – Thank you for sharing your experience with leave. Part time leave will be a way for me to ease back into work – mainly it will be responsibilities around weekend worship and any pre-set, as needed meetings. I won’t return to full responsibility immediately. My hope is that this will make the transition easier for everyone involved.

I (along with my wife) am a provisional elder within the Arkansas Conference and we are expecting our first child in October of this year. She is an associate pastor and I am the pastor of a rural church outside of Jonesboro, Arkansas.

I am writing because a group of clergy within our conference are drafting a resolution for Annual Conference this year along the lines of ensuring that every mother and father who serves in the Annual Conference will receive paid maternity/paternity leave following the birth or adoption of a child for a full 3 months and that the supply pastors will be organized and paid for through a fund outside the local church.

I was wondering if your annual conference has such a policy. Recently the members of the group have started to ask clergy friends outside of the conference. Our initial findings are that not many conferences have a policy outside of the mandated Book of Discipline policies. This often leaves clergy the burden of making their own maternity/paternity leave arrangements and burdened with returning to work sooner than recommended.

If you (or anybody else for that matter) can assist with any information, that will be great! My e-mail address is Thank you for your time!

Heath – Thanks, so much for the comment. I have actually received an email from Danyelle, who you may be working with on this project. I will definitely respond to the questions that she has put forward and will remember to put the responses here on the blog. So look for them soon. Thanks for checking!

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