2024 Sabbatical Plans

In the summer of 2024, our Co-Pastors will be on sabbatical. Here’s some information about what to expect:

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Why Sabbatical?

From Debbie Bevin, UPC Personnel Committee Chair:

This summer marks five years since we welcomed Meg and Jarrett to UPC. In some respects, their time with us has flown by, but when we look back at those five years, we are reminded that they were five very full years! Within six months of arriving at UPC, a global pandemic forced the McLaughlins to completely reimagine worship, fellowship, and outreach. Thanks to their creativity, determination, and leadership, UPC not only survived that difficult period but thrived. Over the past five years they have also challenged and inspired us from the pulpit, tended to our needs in joy and sorrow, welcomed scores of new members, provided opportunities for engagement with the world outside of our walls, expanded and mentored our staff, and cared for our beautiful but aging facilities.

This summer, our co-pastors will have the opportunity to take well-earned sabbaticals. UPC offers a sabbatical to full-time program staff after every five years of service. The purpose of the sabbatical is to provide time for extended study, renewal, and professional growth. Sabbaticals are good for our staff and they are good for the church!

When will Meg & Jarrett be gone, and what will they do?

Meg and Jarrett will take a staggered sabbatical, with each taking a month as a solo sabbatical, and two months on sabbatical together. Meg’s sabbatical will be May 20-Aug. 11, and Jarrett’s sabbatical will be June 14-Sept. 5. Both Co-Pastors will be away for 12 weeks, with 8 overlapping weeks (Sundays include June 16 through August 11).

Meg will start her time away with a clergy women’s retreat with a beloved therapist who does work in the enneagram and internal family systems. And Jarrett hopes to travel up the East Coast to connect with friends and hike.

The expected highlight of the summer will be a two-week trip to Costa Rica (where their daughters are hoping to see a sloth!). Meg and Jarrett have coordinated with Karla Koll, the PC(USA) Mission Co-Worker whom UPC has supported for years, to explore what global mission opportunities might be possible.

They also hope to read, reflect, and reconnect, but mostly practice holy rest and remembering.

A sloth hanging from a tree branch in Costa Rica, surrounded by greenery.

What are appropriate sabbatical boundaries?

During their respective sabbaticals, Meg and Jarrett will be unplugging from UPC life. Sabbatical is meant to allow rest and restoration, and completely stepping away from church life for that period is an important part of that process.

Sabbatical Boundary FAQ:

Will Meg and Jarrett attend worship or church events?
No, Meg and Jarrett (and their family) will not be in worship during their sabbatical times.

What about funerals?
Meg and Jarrett will not come back from sabbatical to lead any funerals. We are fortunate to have three gifted Associate Pastors (Hadley, Nancy, and Berry) who are equipped to walk alongside grieving families and plan and lead funerals.

Can I call/email them?
Meg and Jarrett’s auto-response on their email and phone will say that they are away and that they will not go back through three months of emails or voicemails. If you send them something that you want them to see, send it again upon their return. 

What if I see them at the pool/grocery store/some other place?
It’s okay to say hi and talk about family/school/life! Please don’t pretend you don’t see them. 

Who will be leading in their absence?

Duties will be divided between our associate pastors:

  • Hadley Kifner: pastoral care
  • Nancy Myer: administration and personnel
  • Berry French: worship

For any pastoral care concerns, please use the on-call line (919.929.2102 x 133). Calling this number will connect you with a member of our pastoral staff who can respond in a timely manner to your urgent concerns.

Our three associate pastors will also preach this summer, in addition to several guest preachers.

Community assistance on Tuesdays will be paused while Jarrett is on Sabbatical.

Who will be preaching?

May & June:

May 26: Jarrett McLaughlin

June 2: Jarrett McLaughlin

June 9: Jarrett McLaughlin

June 16: Hadley Kifner

June 23: Berry French

June 30: Bob Dunham


July 7: Jan Edmiston

July 14: Nancy Myer

July 21: Hadley Kifner

July 28: Berry French

August & September:

Aug. 4: Amantha Barbee

Aug. 11: Nancy Myer

Aug. 18: Meg Peery McLaughlin

Aug. 25: Meg Peery McLaughlin

Sept. 1: Meg Peery McLaughlin

Sept. 8: Bob Dunham (congregational retreat weekend)

Meet our Guest Preachers

Rev. Dr. Bob Dunham (June 30 & Sept. 8):
In August, Bob will mark 50 years of ordained ministry in the Presbyterian Church. He served as pastor of University Presbyterian Church from 1991 to 2017 and is now Pastor Emeritus. A native Floridian, Bob has also served congregations in Auburn, AL; Covington, GA; Charleston, SC; and New York City. He and his wife, Marla, live in Chapel Hill. They have two adult children and two grandchildren.

Rev. Dr. Jan Edmiston (July 7):
Jan grew up in UPC, and after graduating from UNC, she attended Andover Newton Theological School in Boston and then Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA. Jan served congregations in NY and VA for 27 years before serving as Associate Executive Presbyter in Chicago Presbytery and then General Presbyter in Charlotte Presbytery where she currently serves. Jan was Co-Moderator of the 222nd General Assembly of the PCUSA with the Rev. Denise Anderson. Her family includes her husband, Rev. Fred Lyon, their four young adult children, and Mike, Sharon, Carson and Katie Edmiston of UPC.

Rev. Dr. Amantha Barbee (Aug. 4):
Amantha holds a BA from UNC-Charlotte, an MDiv from Union Presbyterian Seminary, and a D.Min. degree from Columbia Theological Seminary. She was a program director in a women’s homeless center before pastoring three different churches, and is the recent past chairperson of the General Assembly Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations. She has extensive training in anti-racism and anti-bias models for people of faith and corporate America and is a trained personal coach. She has also led peaceful and challenging protests, and her work has been recognized nationally.

How can we be supportive?


Pray for Meg and Jarrett as they prepare for this time away, and for them as they are away. Pray for their rest and rejuvenation.

Pray for UPC as we prepare for and enter this time while they are away.

Pray for Hadley, Nancy, and Berry as they take on some additional responsibilities.

Be Present…

At UPC this summer, we will continue to worship, fellowship, serve, and be the church together! Please continue to support the work of UPC through your presence in worship (we have a GREAT lineup of preachers!), as well as the many opportunities available throughout the summer.