November 2023

Praying for the People God Knows We Need

This autumn it has been a joy to institute and licence a record number of clergy to new posts and as well as being the beginning of new ministry for individuals, communities and parishes, these services represent the culmination of months of careful work. The appointment of clergy is one of the most important tasks of being a bishop, overseeing the right person appointed to the right place, not only fulfils the vocation of parish and priest, but also ensures faithful ministry now and in the future.

Sometimes the departure of a parish priest is sudden, sometimes it is planned whatever, the period of vacancy ensures time is taken to review the needs of a particular place or places, of a particular church or churches, to make sure that the defined task is realistic and forward looking. This can involve vision days and consultations with Patrons and other interested parties. The role needs to be accurately defined and the drawing up of a profile and advert a careful process, bearing in mind that some weeks well over forty church leadership posts are advertised nationally in the Church Times.

The recruitment and appointment process, co-ordinated by the archdeacon and our local office, involves careful managing, as applications arrive, shortlisting takes place and interviews and visits are organised. Patrons, parish representatives all participate in what is ultimately and most importantly a task of prayerful discernment as references are sought and read, candidates welcomed, and a day of interviews held. Presentations are made, homilies preached, and the local school visited. Then following appointment all the necessary checks are made before an announcement and plans for moving take shape, including the preparation of the house and organisation of the licensing service itself.

As often is the case much hard work proceeds a joyful celebration. Prayer is essential, and so often the temptation is to ask for the person we all think we want, when rather than trusting that God will provide the person God knows we need. I am forever thankful for all those who at the end of these processes come to the diocese to serve the church faithfully as priests. We welcome those who have arrived recently and continue to pray for parishes in, or soon to be in, vacancy.


Powered by Church Edit