News in brief
An arts and faith festival is currently being planned by our neighbouring Baptist and Swiss churches for the second half of May. It’s going to be called the ‘Just Festival’ and will take up themes of justice and peace through theatre, music and debate. More details to follow.
Plans are also being to unfold for a theatre production in St Giles to mark the 350th anniversary of the outbreak of the Plague in St Giles parish. This is scheduled for late June I am working with Marie, who directed ‘When the Fallen Sang’ in 2013 about the history of St Giles, and High Hearted theatre company, to have a play written and performed. The next stage is to find some money from somewhere! If anyone is burdened with too much money and wishes to support us . . . Just thinking!
A Confirmation service has been planned for the Cathedral on Saturday, 4th April at 6pm. If anyone is at all interested, or would like to ask more, please contact me. Alan Carr
Preparing for the next chapter in our history
As most of you will be aware, the Rector will be retiring in April after 15 years of loyal service to St Giles-in-the-Fields. The coming months will be a time for us to celebrate and give thanks for the dedication Bill has shown to St Giles over his time as rector. This thanksgiving will culminate on 19th April with a celebratory evensong service when we will all formally say goodbye to Bill. More information about this will be on its way to you soon.
Yet, as we prepare for the end of an era, the PCC has also been actively thinking about what the future holds. We will soon be called upon to welcome a new rector to St Giles and we are keen that the process of appointing a new incumbent is transparent to all members of the congregation. So, we are putting pen to paper in order to explain a little of the process that is now under way. As always, both Thomas and I welcome any questions, so please do feel free to approach us at church or send an email if there is anything you would like to ask about specifically that isn’t covered here.
What is the process for appointing a new Rector?
Under the Patronage (Benefices) Measure 1986, the authority to fill a vacancy rests with the parish’s patron, working in cooperation with the diocesan bishop. In our case, both these roles are filled by the Bishop of London, the Rt Rev. and Rt Hon Richard Chartres. The other party in this process are the two Parish Representatives, who are selected by the PCC to represent the parish.
Broadly speaking, two avenues are available when considering how to appoint a new incumbent: either a parish may agree to consider a candidate suggested by the patron, or the parish representatives may opt to advertise the role publicly and conduct an open competition. The guidance provided by the Church of England calls on PCC’s to develop a statement of needs, commonly called a Parish Profile, which sets out a picture of the parish and its needs. This forms the basis for the discernment and selection of an appropriate candidate.
Where are we in the process?
After Bill informed us of his intention to retire last Autumn, the PCC met informally in late November to start thinking about where St Giles is going in the coming years and how we should approach the appointment process. We enjoyed a constructive and encouraging series of conversations which threw up many ideas that have helped to shape our Parish Profile. The PCC agreed that we are confident in our mission to offer traditional, reverent worship and Christian hospitality, and that we are seeking a new rector with the experience, confidence and self-motivation to enable us to build on our strengths.
At its December meeting, the PCC voted to appoint the churchwardens as Parish Representatives. Before Christmas, Thomas and I met with Bishop Richard for a first, informal chat about the appointment of a new rector and were very encouraged that he shares the PCC’s vision for the next chapter in St Giles’ history and offered us his full support. The Bishop indicated that he has identified a potential candidate to fill the position and it has been agreed that we should proceed with the process of interview and discernment in order to decide whether this is the correct person to fill the role. As a consequence, we will not be advertising the role publicly at present.
At its February meeting, the PCC reviewed a draft Parish Profile, which has now been delivered to the bishop. In the coming weeks, we will make preparations to formally interview the bishop’s preferred candidate and, all being well, will be in a position to announce the new appointment thereafter.
It is easy to fall into feeling that the appointment of a new Rector is just another “human resources” challenge. We are very conscious, however, that it is a much more important task and that the individual who is chosen to replace Bill will take on the daunting task of caring for the souls of a diverse, and often challenging, parish. We must therefore pray for the grace to select a candidate who is equal to this challenge and who will not only manage carefully the affairs of the parish in the coming period but will also help us to grow in Christian fellowship. We hope that you will all join us in praying for the success of this process and we look forward very much to celebrating together the next chapter in the history of our parish. Wil James
A date for the diary: Sunday, 19th April
Kindly make a note of the date, and particularly the special 6.30pm Choral Evening Service on that day, when we shall express our thanks to Bill, the Rector, for his ministry and leadership within the parish over many years, and to wish him every blessing in the years to come. I am sure that many will wish to join us, so please feel free to pass this date and invitation on to others. Some refreshments will, of course, be shared afterwards. Further details in due course. Alan Carr
Our course of visiting preaching during the season of Lent, begun at the end of February, continues and concludes in March. This should prove to be a fascinating insight into the life of a range of traditions all represented in our neighbourhood. Please note that due to a cancellation, we have invited The Revd. Joseph Gabor, formerly of the Hungarian Catholic Church, to reflect with us on his coming to faith in a communist country. These all take place within our 6.30pm Evening Service.
1st The Reverend Stephane Desmarais
French Protestant Church in London
8th Dr. Joseph Gabor
The Catholic tradition in Hungary
15th The Reverend Simon Woodman
Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church
22nd The Reverend Katherine Hedderly
The 2014 – 2015 Community Audit
Many thanks to all those who sent in a questionnaire for the community audit. We are grateful. Alan will, in due course, work through the responses so as to gain some idea of how we as a congregation, and others as members of the wider community, view the life and character of our parish and imagine how, under God, we might reach out further to meet in some way the needs of this place. A summary report will be the final outcome, and a copy will be made available to everyone.