The members of the Vestry have had to think hard and long about whether our current financial situation (as so clearly set out by Reg Holder and Kit Bowen at the AGM) justifies us in confirming to Bishop Mark that we will be able to fund a full stipend for a five year period and thus can begin to advertise for a new Priest-in-Charge. Projections based solely on our current income, expenditure and congregational numbers would seem to fail that test. However, in setting out our criteria for a new incumbent we have recognised that we cannot continue as at present and that we should therefore seek an enabler who will work actively with us (perhaps in radical ways) to refresh our spiritual life, improve our outreach into the community and encourage congregational growth. If our churches can be revitalised in this way, our finances should be transformed too.
We have therefore concluded that we should proceed, in faith, to advertise the vacancy. There is no telling what the response may be or how soon we might be able to appoint the right person, so for many months yet we will continue to be dependent on our hard working non-stipendiary clergy and on the members of the congregation who work with them to maintain active worship in our churches. Please keep them in your prayers – and pray too for success in our finding a new Priest-in-Charge who will fulfil our hopes. Meanwhile, by not having to pay a stipend during the inter-regnum and by renting out the Parsonage we are rebuilding our financial reserves to help provide a more solid starting point for the new incumbency.