The process for securing our next incumbent is now well underway. Our journey so far has included two visits from the Archdeacon, the completion of a parish survey, a consultation with our local partners and an extraordinary meeting of the PCC, where on the 19th of June, two initial representatives were elected to the formal appointments committee.
This blog serves as an update to the one posted on Apr 7th. Since then we have now completed a required document called the Parish Profile. The Profile, which you can read here, is a kind of brochure for the parish, charting its recent history and the challenges and opportunities that any new incumbent might face.
You may wonder what rules govern all of these arcane procedures, and how we can guarantee the transparency and accountability of the process, and above all that we get the right person! Although somewhat dull, all the principles are set out in the Parish in Vacancy Guidelines from the Diocese of Southwark. We have worked our way through the various procedures detailed on pages 24-32 and are all set to advertise (p.32ff). Advertising is not actually required, but we have signalled to the Bishop that we would prefer to do this. In the meantime, we are free to have informal talks with anyone who might have heard about the position by word of mouth. We are due to have our first such meeting very shortly. All that would happen after this is that we would encourage anyone concerned to apply as and when the advert came out, if appropriate.
At all points in this process, the views of the congregation and PCC are paramount. Care was taken when drawing up the profile to base it on the most broadly expressed views in the Parish Survey. An early draft of this document was then modified to mention possible additional gifts and strengths that the incumbent might bring to our Parish School, our Anglican-Methodist LEP, and deanery and ecumenical efforts in the wider area.
Finally, who actually does the interviewing? This is not quite the same question as the membership of the appointments committee itself. The committee overseeing the appointment process is comprised of the Bishop (or his or her representative), the “Patron” (if distinct from the Bishop) and two members of the PCC. Whilst some or all of these may be present at an interview, others can be involved as the PCC sees fit. Thus although the two wardens have been elected as the representatives, we are clear we want female church members to be involved too and for any interview panel to reflect, as far as possible the diversity if our congregation. It is likely we will also involve selected partners such as our Methodist ministers and/or someone from the Parish School in different parts of the process.
The PCC would like to thanks all those who have helped in preaching and presiding through the last six months and reiterate its warm appreciation to everyone who continues to be involved in keeping the church running so effectively.
We continue to ask for your thoughts and prayers for guidance, discernment and wisdom as we enter the next stages of this process.
Tom and John (Churchwardens)