Interregnum Progress Update & Latest News from our Churchwardens.
By Steve Purcell
When Fade and myself met with Archdeacon Catherine in early December last year, we were given the exciting news that Bishop Lusa had decided to proceed without delay in appointing a successor to Father Robert, to serve as our next parish priest. In the Roman Catholic Church, ‘without delay’ means that your new priest arrives the next day; however in the Church of England, it is considered doing very well if your new Vicar arrives within nine months. This is to allow for a period of consultation and discernment within the parish, and then for the formal advertising, recruitment and selection to take place.
Back in December, we knew that St Thomas was on a tight timescale to complete all the necessary formalities without delaying proceedings. The first target was to produce a Parish Profile document, to be agreed by the PCC and the Bishop, and to be delivered in final form before 31st March. The purpose of such a document is to paint a picture of the parish and the church family, how we aspire to progress in the future, and the personal qualities that we are looking for in a new Vicar. This is a key document that will be given to all who might be interested in applying for the position, and will be vital in drawing the right person to us.
From the beginning, the PCC decided that this would be a consultative exercise, so right back in December we started planning a congregational consultation exercise to seek views from all worshippers. To cut a long story short, writing of the Profile document did not start until all the consultations, both with the congregation and the PCC, had been completed and reflected upon. Starting with a blank sheet of paper, the whole document — text and photographs — was created over the space of a fortnight in early February, and presented for review to a joint meeting between the Bishop and the PCC. I am delighted to report that our Profile document was received very favourably, and after a few final edits has now been delivered within the original deadline. If you would like to read a copy of the finished article, it is available HERE on our parish website.
With the first major milestone under our belt, after Easter we have now entered a new phase. By the time that you read this, the post of Parish Priest will be advertised in the Church Times and on the Diocesan website. Interested parties are asked to contact Archdeacon Catherine for further details and a copy of the Profile.
Interviews are scheduled to take place on Tuesday 27th June, and will be held at St Thomas’. We will be represented on the interview panel by Fade Solanke-Mitterer and David Gilbert. On the day before the interviews, on Monday 26th June there will be a parish visiting day, when those shortlisted for interview will be invited to come along and visit the church site — Church, Hall, and, most importantly, the Vicarage — and meet members of the congregation. We can also expect unannounced visits from interested parties at Sunday Mass between now and the day of the interviews.
Please continue your prayerful support for all those involved in the recruitment and selection process, and for those people who will be considering whether or not their next period of ministry lies at St Thomas, Hanwell.