Will members of the congregation get to meet candidates and will we get to hear them preach?
In November the PCC will approve our Parish Profile, which is our ‘shop window’ and which will give potential candidates a real sense of our church, the journey we’ve come on and what we feel God is saying to us about the future. At the same meeting, PCC will elect two people to act as the parish representatives who along with the two representatives from All Saints, will ultimately be the people who decide who is to be appointed along with Archdeacon Jonathan and Bishop Michael. They will be the only people who will see any application forms submitted and what they see in those forms and what is said during the interview is confidential. Therefore, the PCC will not see the application forms and members of the congregation will not meet the candidates. There will be a prayer process running through the whole of the selection process including on the day.
We recognise that many of our church family have come from other denominations which have a practice of ‘preaching with a view’. This is not something that the Church of England does. The C of E runs a discernment and appointments process where all candidates shortlisted are invited to interview on the same day and a discerned decision is made at the end of that day. This differs from other denominations where individual candidates are presented one at a time (allowing for a process of preaching with a view), and the church having to decide on a individual basis – yes or no – not knowing who potentially might also be offering themselves. Both systems have advantages and disadvantages, and we must follow the C of E process.
Preaching is an important factor in selection for St Paul’s and All Saints, so Bishop Michael asks the candidates to ‘preach’ to the assembled panel on a given Bible passage. Therefore, although the congregation as a whole won’t hear candidates preach, there will be an opportunity to assess the candidates’ preaching abilities, via this part of the process.
The schedule for the interview day will be planned in detail nearer the time as this is worked out on an individual basis for each appointment process, depending on the number of candidates and logistics etc. There is always an opportunity for the ministry team to meet candidates and to provide feedback to the parish representatives.