Church Notices

In Vacancy - the most frequently asked question

In response to the most frequently asked question, the Area Dean Revd Simon Newham says:

Why does a vacancy take ‘so long’ to fill?

  • It gives a parish and others involved in appointments (e.g. Archdeacon and Bishop) time to discern what a parish, and any new incumbent, actually needs to thrive (this could include pastoral reorganisation). This is reflected in the Parish Profile – which takes time, discernment and prayer, to produce well.
  • A vacancy allows a necessary period of time between the leaving incumbent and the arrival of any new one – for the parish to let go of the previous priest and be ready to receive the new who might be very different.  We are not a business (although there are of course comparisons to be made) and a priest is not a CEO – much of our work is far more relational – coming to a new parish is like being married rather then simply employed and some time between ‘partners’ is all for the good.
  • The vacancy allows new gifts in different people to develop as others become involved in the life of a parish – perhaps for the first time during a vacancy.
  • Vacancies are kept to as short a time as possible – there is no policy (as far as I am aware) of making vacancies last for any particular period of time.