Rector Vacancy Update

July Update - Our Representatives

An update on our search for a new Rector

The PCC had a meeting with the Venerable Will Adam, the Archdeacon of Canterbury, on Tuesday, 2nd July 2024. At that meeting, Will gave us a timetable for our finding a new Rector, if all goes to plan. The plan is that the post will be advertised in the middle of September, with a closing date for applications in mid-October. After that, a short-list of applicants will be drawn up and interviews will take place on the 5th November. So, with God’s blessing, we may have a new incumbent by the Spring of 2025.

Two members of the PCC will take part in the short-listing and interviews. After a close election, Sue Spillett and Dave Stuart were chosen at the meeting as our two representatives to take the profile forward. Please keep them, and everyone else who offered themselves as candidates, in your prayers over the next few months.

A group from the parish has spent several weeks drawing up a profile of the parish, to which appendices will now be added from Archdeacon Will and our Area Dean, and from Bishop Rose. We are very grateful to everyone in that group for all their hard work and dedication. Archdeacon Will was very complimentary about the profile at our meeting. The profile will be given to potential applicants; it sets out information about our parish, what we think is important, and what we hope to find in a new Rector. If you would like to have a copy of the profile, this will be on our website soon.

June Update - Our Priorities

The Parish Profile Group (PPG) has been hard at work producing a description of the parish, our parish priorities, and what we are looking for in a new Rector. The group’s thoughts so far centre on building up the worshipping congregations and facilities at St Martin’s, building on the existing congregations and activities at St Paul’s, and building out into the community.
There was a short Parochial Church Council (PCC) meeting immediately after the APCM last month, at which members of the PCC considered the first draft of the parish profile and offered initial feedback. On Monday 10th June there will be a PCC meeting whose main business will be to look at a full draft of the parish profile and offer comments. The PPG will consider and integrate these. We have set aside Monday 24th June for an additional PCC meeting in case the comments on 10th June are so extensive that the PCC needs to see another draft of the document, although we do not expect this to be the case.
On Tuesday 2nd July, the PCC meets with Archdeacon Will Adam, for a ‘Section 11’ meeting, at which Will and the PCC formally approve the parish profile. This will then form the basis for advertising thepost, which we will do at the beginning of September.

Members of the PCC are invited to discern if they are being called to be one of the two parish representatives to sit on the interview panel. As well as engaging in a professional and prayerful recruitment process, these two people will be expected to understand and reflect as wide a range of the parish’s hopes and needs as possible. Representatives have an important duty in being able to set aside their own personal views and act on behalf of the whole parish to ensure that a new Rector is appointed in line with the parish profile and in response to God’s calling.

All members of our two churches are invited and encouraged to talk to members of the PPG and the PCC about the profile as it shapes up towards sign-off on Tuesday 2nd July. 

May Update - Parish Profile Timetable

The Parish Profile Group (PPG) has been hard at work producing a description of the parish, our parish priorities, and what we are looking for in a new rector.

The group’s thoughts so far centre on building up the worshipping congregations and facilities at St Martin’s, building on the existing congregations and activities at St Paul’s, and building out into the community.

 There will be a short Parochial Church Council (PCC) meeting immediately after the APCM on 19th May, at which members of the PCC will hear the first draft of the parish profile and offer their feedback.

 On 10th June there will be a PCC meeting whose main business will be to look at a full draft of the parish profile and offer comments. The PPG will consider and integrate these. We have set aside 24th June for an additional PCC meeting in case the comments on 10th June are so extensive that the PCC needs to see another draft of the document, although we do not expect this to be the case.

On 2nd July (tbc), the PCC meets with the Archdeacon, Will Adam, for a ‘Section 11’ meeting, at which Will and the PCC formally approve the parish profile. This will then form the basis for advertising the post, which we will do at the beginning of September.

Members of the PCC are invited to discern if they are being called to be one of the two parish representatives to sit on the interview panel. As well as engaging in a professional and prayerful recruitment process, these two people will be expected to understand and reflect as wide a range of the parish’s hopes and needs as possible. Representatives have an important duty in being able to set aside their own personal views and act on behalf of the whole parish to ensure that a new Rector is appointed in line with the parish profile and in response to God’s calling.

All members of the two churches are invited and encouraged to talk to members of the PPG and the PCC about the profile as it shapes up towards sign-off on the 2nd July.

April Update - From Archdeacon Will

Appointing a new Rector

You have now said goodbye to Revd Mark, your Rector, following his last services at Easter and have begun a time of vacancy. This can be unsettling, but need not be so. Responsibility within the parish largely devolves to the churchwardens who will be supported by the ministry team in your parish along with the Area Dean, myself as Archdeacon and others.

The vacancy doesn’t start until the previous incumbent has started in their new post which in Mark’s case is on the 21st Apri).

The process for appointing your new Rector is set down in law and involves various people: namely the Registered Patron of the benefice, the Bishop, and the PCC and their nominated representatives. The patron is a person or a body that has the legal right to nominate an incumbent for the benefice.

In the case of St Martin and St Paul the patron is the Archbishop of Canterbury and his responsibilities in these situations are handled by the Bishop of Dover and by me.

Once the vacancy has started the PCC can begin to put together a statement ‘describing the conditions, needs and traditions of the parish’ (Patronage (Benefices) Measure 1986, S 11), generally known as the Parish Profile.

At a meeting to be held within six months of the vacancy beginning the PCC needs to approve this statement and to appoint two lay (not ordained) members of the PCC to act as their representatives in the appointment process.

The PCC can also request the patron to advertise the vacancy (which is our normal practice in any case) and to have a meeting with the bishop and patron (the same person in this case).

My office then puts together a timetable for advertising, applications, shortlisting and interviews. The interview panel normally includes the Archdeacon (in the chair), the Area Dean and Lay Chair and the two parish representatives. After interview, a preferred candidate has a second interview with the Bishop of Dover prior to an offer being made.

 A question that I am often asked is how long this all takes. This may be best asked by working backwards. A priest who is already an incumbent will need to give three months notice in their current parish, moving takes a couple of weeks, and the appointment process from advertisement to announcement takes normally another 2-3 months. Therefore the minimum vacancy is always going to be six months. Nine months to one year is a better indication for a trouble-free process.

That said, we exist now in tricky times for recruitment. Parishes where one might have expected a number of applicants and a shortlist of four or five are often now finding it difficult to attract many, or any, applications.

However, I hope that St Martin and St Paul will be an attractive prospect for a good priest. I have often joked with Mark that, as the incumbent of the oldest extant parish in the land he had good cause to claim to the ‘The Premier Rector of England’.

I know that the next holder of this post will find supportive and committed congregations and a PCC to minister with them in this important parish.

Archdeacon Will.