Many of you know that I've had a pretty tough time over the past year but that I have recently been appointed to a new job. I want to express how very grateful I am for the warmth and support I have had from so many of you across the Parish during this difficult time.
One of the results of changes in my life mean that I needed to find a role that paid a monetary salary - in spite of the riches waiting for me in eternity! As far as possible, I wanted that role to be in Christian ministry. However, the way the Diocese allocates paid roles to parishes and the finances of our three churches only allows for one paid priest, I looked to see if a suitable post across the Diocese of Oxford might be on offer.
As you are probably aware, the church is good at accepting offers of help and as soon as I made it known that I was looking for a job, I was given three! Unfortunately none of them was paid, but they gave me the opportunity to show what I could do.
Never one to turn down a challenge, I accepted all three and am now a ministry development reviewer. This means that, on behalf of the Bishop, I conduct some of the annual development reviews of Diocese vicars. I 'm also a ministry accompanies which means I work alongside vicars to provide them with consultancy when facing difficulties. It covers coaching on areas such as managing conflict, team dynamics and parish strategy.
My third role is as a vocations adviser. This means interviewing and supporting candidates who feel they have been called to ordained ministry of some kind.
After over six months of these extra voluntary roles, to my great relief, and after much prayer and soul searching, I have now been appointed as Berkshire archdeaconry vocations adviser. This is a new role working 17.5 hours a week on a three year contract for the Diocese. And, alleluia, praise the Lord, they are now paying me!
What can I fit into the week?
My new job means I will be resourcing parishes and deaneries to develop their vocation work and to design and deliver tools that will result in an increase of people coming forward to work in the church. If’s not just about recruiting new vicars. If s about as becoming more professional and successful in planning to have the right people, trained and developed for all positions of leadership in the church.
These could include leaders for youth and children's work, worship leaders or lay leaders.Just as in the voluntary sector, the church is suffering from a lack of people who are willing or able to take on these critical roles, so it's my job to sort it out! Sounds like a doddle? Well thankfully I have a very strong faith in a miracle- working God and my HR background!
Using my experience
The voluntary jobs have been challenging and stimulating and have given me the chance to rethink how I might best use my own gifts and experience in God's service, so I will be continuing with these as well as my new paid role, alongside my priestly ministry here in Burchetts Green. So you may see a little less of me in the Parish but I’ll still be involved as associate priest here, as part of my portfolio of roles. Pray for me - or wish me luck if you prefer - I've a feeling I just got busier!