St Barnabas Team Vicar
Revd Pat Jones is now in post as Team Vicar, with a focus on mission to the community served by the Thatcham Park School. We are retaining many of the documents which were part of the recruitment process so you can see what the parish here is about, what our mission is, and how we are seeking to achieve it.
Our advert, of course, says much less than we’d like or you need, and will inevitably look as though we are expecting the perfect match. Not so! The mission of the Church based at the school is firmly in all our minds, as is the need to work outside our comfort zone – but we do expect our Team Vicar to be human.
The Parish Profile, which was prepared for the recently filled post of Team Rector, will give most of the basic facts about the parish – you will see that we’ve let it get a bit out of date: we are a parish in transition, and we need you to be part of that – we don’t fully know what it will look like when we get there.
We did put together a four point job description:
- To develop the opportunities afforded by St Barnabas Church with its base at Thatcham Park School for mission in the surrounding community
- To support the growth of lay leadership within the existing congregation
- To contribute to, and support, the leadership of youth work in the parish, including work with schools as appropriate (see below for more on this)
- To work constructively with immediate colleagues and the wider parish team, contributing as appropriate to the provision of occasional offices
The first of these is clearly the most significant, and the others should support, or at least not detract from, this core purpose.
We have also been thinking about the kind of person who might be able to do all this, with the usual “we’ll know it when we see it, but don’t know quite how to say it” feeling in our group. We did leave lots of things out, but absolutely crucial for any chance of making this work would be an ability to work with Revd Brenda Harland, our St Barnabas based OLM, and Marilyn Cornwell, the head teacher of Thatcham Park School. So this is the paragon we seek:
- An enabler, co-ordinator and encourager who can delegate and show confidence in other people.
- A passionate leader with a sense of humour who knows they are not perfect.
- A person whose grounded faith is rooted in prayer.
- A person who can help us make a reality of our mission statement “serving to build community” by setting appropriate strategic priorities and carrying them through into practice.
- A person who can put the care of people and the nurture of relationships with God and with each other at the heart of the church community – even without a church building.
It is the outward looking part of our church life where we need some fresh impetus. It will not be easy, but there is a decent Team Vicar’s house with a good-sized study, to compensate for the lack of a church building, and St Mary’s facilities are also available. The welcome support of colleagues in fellowship and prayer holds dangers as well as joys – for it will be all too easy to get bound up in the busy-ness of existing activity, rather than mission around the edges of things. But while St Mary’s lives its life at the heart of the community, we need St Barnabas to take us out of our comfort zone.
Our young people have had a hand in drawing up these details, and are hoping for a team vicar to whom they can relate well as a leader and who will take a real interest in the youth work of the parish. We do not envisage this being quite the same as it has been – our previous Team Vicar was hugely involved in the youth work as a major part of what he did, alongside significant work with Kennet School. Since he left we have recruited a number of enthusiastic and capable lay volunteers, but have lost our main lay leader too. So leadership of youth work will involve a contribution to building a new team, and an immediate focus for the development of lay leadership.
Our young people would also like to point out that there are lots of great people about, so when we say “it won’t be easy” we don’t mean you’ll have lots of problems with people. Nor are the foundations creaking. Rather, there will be lots of possibilities, and taking the right ones to build the mission of the church on those foundations with those people will be the main challenge.
Do investigate, research and talk to us to find out more.