This is an unusual and, we hope, exciting, opportunity in that it is a parish-funded post for an ordained priest in addition to the incumbent.
The parish is already in a good position, but to grow further, in all sorts of areas, we need greater capacity among the ministerial team.
In particular, we are looking to improve our provision in children’s and youth work, and in our use of social media. The associate vicar would be given total responsibility in certain areas, but would not have to deal with some of the ‘baggage’ that comes with incumbency.
Although we are advertising now, we are looking for the person not to start until September 2019 in order for the new curate to bed in to his post independently of the associate minister: he arrives at the end of June 2019.
The areas of focus for the post would be to foster some of the good things we do and develop new areas. For example, we currently offer an excellent regular service for very young children and their families, and our children’s choir for six to twelve year olds works well but our provision for children at the end of primary school/ beginning and middle of secondary school is weak. This is a priority.
Also, we do not follow up well with families who bring their children for baptism. Last year, we baptised nearly forty people, most of whom were infants. Finding ways to continue to link with these families would be significant.
To look at it another way: 15,000 people use our buildings for something each year; we are convinced that we could offer more in the way of regular worship to these people, if we were able to offer better opportunities.
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In a sense there is no ‘ideal candidate’ as there are a variety of people who could do this job well.
The person would have to enjoy being with children of all ages, and understand how to lead worship services for those age groups.
The person would need to be comfortable with using social media.
The person would need to be a good team worker, both in terms of working with those in paid positions (the vicar, the administrator and the director of music) but also in terms of the members of the parish who volunteer in all sorts of different ways.
The person would need to be comfortable with leading catholic styles of worship as well as more informal services.
It could be a great second post for someone who has just completed a curacy; it could also be a great post for someone who wants to be actively involved with parish ministry but needs to work flexibly, and it would be possible for this post to be shaped in a way that is part-time.
One of the great things about this is that our churches offer spaces for all sorts of activities. It is great both that 15,000 people use the church buildings for something each year, be that voting, baby Bach, or the AA, and also that over 5,000 people come to church to worship at least once a year, well over 10% of all the people who live in the area.
There are still a healthy number of occasional offices, and Christmas is a big deal. 3,000 people come to school carol services held at St Mark’s, and a further 1,200 come to the parish services, a number which has increased by 80% over the last eight years.
The best thing about this parish is that we are good at offering both traditional services and ones that are more informal, which means we can meet different kinds of people at different stages of their lives.
Thus on a typical Sunday morning, the first service is a quiet communion service using the Book of Common Prayer at 8am, with a dozen people. This is followed by a service at 9.15am at St Mark’s for people with young families. This would include a Bible story, an action song, and a time of prayer. Sometimes, recently, we have used material from “Diddy Disciples”, and this is very much the spirit of how we attempt to make this service work. About sixty people come to this each week.
Then at 11am, we have a traditional choral Eucharist at St Andrew’s church. Children here do not stay in the service all the way through but go to Sunday Club in a separate room. There is a robed choir and a fantastic organ, and occasionally we have incense. The sacrament is treated reverently but equally we would hope the service is not fussy. Just over a hundred come to this service each week.
Stipend and Pay
The stipend for this post is set at the standard rate for incumbent status clergy in Southwark Diocese, including a full pension.
We would organise housing depending on the needs of the candidate. There is a flat which the church has access to a reduced rate, and would be appropriate for someone who is child-free. However, for people who have a bigger family to accommodate, we would need to rent a bigger house. We could either do that, or alternatively offer a housing allowance on top of the stipend, if the candidate preferred to organise housing themselves.
People who are applying for the role part time would be allotted their stipend on a pro rata basis.
We will consider both applications for part time and full time work for this post.