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Vicar of St John's Church Bierley

Overview

We are looking for a priest for this Extended Episcopal Oversight parish

We are committed to ensuring that we retain a strong and viable presence of the accessible Catholic tradition within the Anglican church in the Bradford Episcopal Area of the Diocese of Leeds. There have been two significant parishes from within that tradition in the city of Bradford, both of which have voted for extended episcopal oversight.  One of these is St John’s Bierley.

St John’s Bierley is a great example of a Church of England church in the Catholic tradition that engages well with its parish and context alongside a commitment to playing a full part in Diocesan life.  Great efforts have been made in recent years to refurbish St John’s so that it is a both a fine place for worship and a community space where people can meet and feel at home when they come to Messy Church.

For an informal conversation please contact: Archdeacon of Bradford, Ven Dr Andy Jolley, andy.jolley@leeds.anglican.org , 01274 405720; 07973 458403 

Application packs are available from Carmel Dylak: carmel.dylak@leeds.anglican.org (0113 353 0290) or http://www.leeds.anglican.org/vacancies/vicar-st-johns-church-bierley

Closing Date:  Noon on Monday 5th March

Interviews Tuesday 20th and Wednesday 21st March followed by a further meeting with the Diocesan Bishop prior to a final offer of the post. 

An enhanced DBS will be required.

Post Introduction

There have been two significant parishes from within the accessible Catholic tradition of the Church of England in the city of Bradford, both of which have voted for extended episcopal oversight.  One of these is St John’s Bierley (and the other is St Chad’s Toller Lane).  The Diocese is very supportive of St John’s retaining its theological position and looks to it to continue to play a full part within the rhythm of Diocesan life.

There is an allocation of a full-time stipendiary post for those Anglicans in the Bradford Area who have sought Extended Episcopal Oversight and are not persuaded by the Church of England’s decision to ordain women.  After exploring possible ways of allocating the available stipendiary clergy resources for such parishes in the Episcopal Area, the decision has been made to seek a full-time vicar at St John’s Bierley.  This decision reflects the Bishop’s commitment to ensuring the retention of a strong and flourishing presence of the accessible Catholic tradition within the Anglican church in the Bradford Episcopal Area of the Diocese of Leeds.

A full-time post is a greater level of deployment than would normally be offered for a parish of the size of Bierley.  In addition to the usual expectations of a parish priest, we are therefore expecting that the new vicar will provide a welcoming and flourishing home for those of the catholic tradition beyond the parish boundaries who would welcome Extended Episcopal Oversight.  This must not be at the expense, however, of the many people at St John’s who do support the Church of England’s decision to ordain women.

St John’s Bierley is a church in good heart which wishes to both honour the tradition in which it stands, welcome new people into the Christian community and serve the wider community.  It is therefore a great example of a Church of England church in the Catholic tradition that engages well with its parish and context alongside a commitment to playing a full part in Diocesan life.

St John’s has grown gently until the current vacancy. The last incumbent reflected on the ebb and flow of young families coming to church and noted that some had stopped coming.  The next incumbent and PCC will need to look at this change in trend and discern ways forward.  How significant is the school’s change of admissions policy?  How does Messy Church contribute to the future?  A priority is to start up Messy Church again.

Great efforts have been made in recent years to refurbish St John’s so that it is a both a fine place for worship and a community space where people can meet and feel at home when they come to Messy Church. There is a great resource in the thriving church charity shop which is a real help to members of the local community and also generates funds which support St John’s. There is also an outstanding church school which is an impressive contribution to the wider community with several members of the congregation involved in it.

The parish has grown in recent years as more residential house building has taken place. This provides more opportunities for the church and challenge of where to focus in mission? Engaging with people moving into new-build housing is an important priority.

Depending upon the manager in post, the local Asda supermarket has welcomed the priest at Bierley to be a light touch part-time chaplain at the supermarket.  It is possible that this may open up again.

Our vision as a Diocese is about confident clergy equipping confident Christians to live and tell the good news of Jesus Christ.  In appointing to this post, we are therefore looking for someone who is a visionary and enabling leader, and has a joyful and confident faith which can inspire church growth, both numerically and spiritually.

The future lies in churches working together more than ever before. As we look at the parishes across the city of Bradford and plan for a shared future within the new Diocese, St John’s needs to play a full part in those conversations. How may we encourage one another and be accountable to one another as we grow in confidence in Christ and in our neighbouring churches?

There are other churches nearby who are committed to mission in this area. In addition there is a small independent church (Bethel Community Church) within Bierley which is now led by a group which came from St John’s, Bowling - the next door parish, which is evangelical.   Bethel looks forward to seeing what can be done together.

Role Responsibility

Specific

  • Excellence in liturgy and catholic worship: stipendiary clergy deployment for Anglicans of the Catholic tradition petitioning for extended episcopal oversight in the city of Bradford is being focused on St John’s.  The provision of excellent worship within this tradition is therefore a priority so that Anglicans of this background can find a flourishing home at St John’s.  St John’s must also be a place where those who are supportive of women’s ordained ministry and for whom St John’s is their local parish church, are also welcome and can flourish.
  • Engagement with the Diocese: The Bishop of Bradford is very supportive of St John’s retaining its theological position and looks to the church to continue to play a full part within the rhythm of Diocesan life.
  • Visible presence in the local community: St John’s has built a good reputation for serving the wider community, not least through its charity shop and the outstanding Church Primary School.  The new incumbent will be expected to maintain and build upon this reputation, maintaining a highly visible presence in the local community.
  • Outreach to children, young people and families: there are good opportunities to work with St John’s Church of England Primary School and also with Newhall Park Primary School.  Restarting Messy Church may be one appropriate way forward.
  • Fostering dynamic partnerships with other local churches: there are other churches nearby who are committed to mission in this area, and so the new incumbent will be expected to seek positive partnerships with other local church leaders.  In particular, the neighbouring parish of Tong & Laisterdyke shares an interest in St John’s School and has has considerable experience in projects working with those most in need.  There is also a small independent church (Bethel Community Church) within Bierley which is now led by a group which came from St John’s, Bowling – another next door parish, which is evangelical.   Bethel looks forward to seeing what can be done together.
  • Outreach to newcomers to the parish: the parish has grown in recent years as more residential building has taken place. This provides more opportunities for the church and challenge of where to focus in mission.  Outreach to new housing developments will therefore be a key priority, and one which is also on the agenda of many of the other churches in the Outer Bradford Deanery.
  • Engagement with other local institutions and employers: for example, the local Asda supermarket has welcomed the priest at Bierley to be a light touch part-time chaplain at the supermarket.  This could open up again, depending on the local manager.  There is also a local Cygnet (psychiatric) Hospital and two care homes in the parish.
  • Multi-faith work as it emerges with continued demographic changes in the parish: the parish of Bierley, like others in the Outer Bradford Deanery, is starting to find people of other faith, particularly Muslim, backgrounds moving in.  The new incumbent will be expected to be alert to these developments and to seek to engage positively with them.

The Ideal Candidate

We’re looking for a priest for this Extended Episcopal Oversight parish who:

  • Can lead excellent worship in the modern Anglo-Catholic tradition;
  • Will be excited by a highly visible ministry in an outer estate community;
  • Is joyfully confident in their own identity in Christ and with a track record of growing confident disciples;
  • Can help lead the church in outreach into the parish and engage with new housing developments;
  • Is confident in supporting people in difficult pastoral situations;
  • Will relish the opportunities available in an outstanding church school

Experience

  • Proven track record of commitment to and delivery of church growth
  • Proven track record of growing the confidence and gifts of God’s people
  • Experience in the typical range of Church of England parish ministry
  • Leading high quality liturgy
  • Leading a church into mission
  • A man who is an ‘encourager’, able to consult, and inspire others and skilled in the art of delegation
  • Schools ministry

Special Knowledge

  • Committed understanding of both traditional and Modern Catholic liturgy.
  • Able to teach and preach the Catholic faith to all effectively
  • Knowledge/understanding of changing patterns of mission and ministry in the Church, within the parish and beyond the worshipping community

Disposition

  • A robust, confident and courageous priest, secure in his own identity
  • Spiritual capacity to lead, nurture and grow the church.
  • Enthusiastic and pastoral
  • Committed to development of the church's work with children/teenagers.
  • Approachable and comfortable working with people from more deprived backgrounds

About Us

In this new diocese, now nearly four years old, we are working with three core objectives:

Confident Christians: Encouraging personal spiritual renewal with the aim of producing clergy and laity who are confident in God and in the Gospel.

Growing Churches: Numerically, spiritually and in their mission to the wider world.

Changing communities: For the better, through our partnership with other churches and faith communities, as well as government and third sector agencies.

The Diocese came into being at Easter 2014 following the dissolution of the historic dioceses of Bradford, Ripon & Leeds and Wakefield. This followed a three-year process of debate and consultation driven by the Diocese's Commission. It covers a region whose economy is greater than that of Wales. Background papers to the reorganisation process can be read at www.wyadtransformation.org.

The Diocese comprises five Episcopal Areas, each coterminous with an Archdeaconry. This is now one of the largest dioceses in the country and its creation is unprecedented in the history of the Church of England. It covers an area of around 2,425 square miles, and a population of around 2,642,400 people.

The three former dioceses were created in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to cater for massive population changes brought about by industrialisation and, later, mass immigration. The diocese comprises major cities (Bradford, Leeds, Wakefield), large industrial and post-industrial towns (Halifax, Huddersfield, Dewsbury), market towns (Harrogate, Skipton, Ripon, Richmond and Wetherby), and deeply rural areas (the Dales). The whole of life is here, along with all the richness, diversity and complexities of a changing world.

The diocese is dissected by major motorways (M1, A1M, M62) and major trunk roads (such as the A650, A59), making road and rail communications good. Access to airports is also good, with Leeds-Bradford in easy reach and Manchester only an hour away.

The Diocesan Bishop is assisted by five Area Bishops (Bradford, Huddersfield, Richmond, Ripon and Wakefield) and five archdeacons (Bradford, Halifax, Leeds, Pontefract, Richmond & Craven). In addition, the dormant See of Richmond has been revived and the new Suffragan Bishop is now taking responsibility for the Leeds Episcopal Area on behalf of the Diocesan Bishop who remains the Area Bishop for Leeds.

There are 323 stipendiary clergy, 165 self-supporting clergy and 398 clergy with PTO along with 408 Readers, 125 lay pastoral ministers and 52 chaplains in 656 churches with 256 church schools. In the Bradford Episcopal Area there are 53.6 stipendiary posts serving 68 parishes with an average weekly attendance of 5,949 from a population of over half a million.

The Diocese is unique in having three cathedrals: Bradford, Ripon and Wakefield and over the past year the cathedrals have begun to work together on the key Diocesan services as well as developing three strands that they will offer to the diocese – pilgrimage, civic engagement and apologetics. This new diocese, led by the bishops, is working out how best to create a diocese with more than one cathedral, and to develop the ministry and outreach of these cathedrals in a way that secures their future and recognises their distinctiveness.

The diocese has inherited strong partnership links with Sudan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Southwest Virginia, Skara (Sweden) and Erfurt (Germany).

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