As announced via a congregational letter on February 17th, Erik Bonkovsky, City Church's Senior Pastor, will take a sabbatical during the summer of 2017. While sabbaticals are a common practice in the Church as whole, we realize this is new for City Church. We also realize that you might have questions–maybe even some concerns. Here you'll find answers to some of the more frequently-asked questions...but please feel free to contact City Church staff, leadership, or any member of the Sabbatical Planning Team* if you'd like to know more.

1. What is a sabbatical? Is this just a really long vacation?

While a vacation could be considered a break from work, a sabbatical is rest from work. It is our hope that this sabbatical offers a time of renewal for Erik, for Erik and Sarah together, and for the entire Bonkovsky family after nine years of service at City Church.

2. Is Something Wrong? Should I be worried?


Erik's pastoral leadership has helped guide City Church through abundant joy and tremendous loss over the last few years. The church's leadership and staff simply desire for him to have time to rest and step away from the intensity of his pastoral role. In fact, our ability and willingness to send Erik off for this time of renewal is a sign of our church body's strength and health–and we are confident in the timing of this sabbatical.

3. When is Erik leaving? When will he be back?

Erik will worship with us on Sunday, May 28th, after which his sabbatical officially begins. He'll return to worship on September 3rd and begin preaching again on September 10th.

4. What will Erik be doing during his sabbatical?

A few different things. As stated, this sabbatical is meant to be a time of rest, renewal, and refreshment for Erik and his family. With the help and guidance of the Session and the Sabbatical Planning Team, Erik has identified activities that will help make that happen. Examples include a cycling trip with friends; visits to North Carolina and New England to be with his parents and siblings; and one-on-one time away with each member of his immediate family. Erik will also spend a portion of his sabbatical reading and writing on the themes of repentance and preaching.

5. What will the congregation be up to?

The Sabbatical Planning Team is currently working with Erik and the Session to identify and plan church-wide activities that will guide us in our own time of reflection. We'll keep you updated as those plans get finalized.

6. Who will preach?

Joshua Earman, our Assistant Pastor; Jim Pulizzi, our Director of Children & Family Ministry; and Harrison Ford, RUF Campus Pastor, will share preaching duties while Erik is away. Pastors from our local partner churches will also join us for a few services.

7. What if I have a pastoral emergency while Erik is gone?

City Church's pastoral staff, elders, and deacons will be available to serve and care for you, as always. Should you have an emergency, you can contact them directly or get in touch with our administrator Val Catrow ( and she'll get you connected.

8. What if I have more questions?

Great! All are welcome to join us for a Q&A on March 5th, right after the service. Erik, members of the session, and the Sabbatical Planning Team will be on-hand to answer any questions you might have. 

(*Sabbatical Planning Team: Susie Austin, Erik Bonkovsky, Val Catrow, Ian McIntosh, Shannon Reppard, and Bo Vaughan)