Personal Assistant to the Bishop of Jarrow

This job has now expired
£14,091 per annum part-time

The Diocese of Durham is one of 43 Dioceses in the Church of England. Geographically it extends from the Tees in the south to the Tyne in the north, and from upper Weardale and Teesdale to the coast.

Rt Revd Sarah Clark was consecrated as the Suffragan Bishop of Jarrow in February 2019. Her role is to assist the Bishop of Durham in the leadership of the Church of England across the Diocese of Durham including the care for the clergy and parishes. Bishop’s roles involve a wide range of relationships across faith communities, local communities and includes local and regional government.

As well as sharing with the Bishop of Durham in the episcopal leadership of the Diocese Bishop Sarah has particular responsibilities as the sponsoring bishop for ordinands, playing a key role in the growth and development of ordained ministry. She also has focussed leadership of the Diocesan core priority relating to the area of poverty. The role and briefing paper for the See of Jarrow that Bishop Sarah was appointed against is included in this briefing pack.

As the Personal Assistant to the Bishop of Jarrow you will play a vital role in supporting and enabling Bishop Sarah to fulfil her purpose in her wide-ranging responsibilities. This role has been developed to reflect Bishop Sarah’s shaping of her own new role and both roles will continue to evolve over time. The key development within the PA role is an expectation of the ability to undertake appropriate research which enables the Bishop’s public role and ministry and this will include an ease with using social media.

Working from an office in the Bishop's home, you will ensure a warm and hospitable welcome to all who come to see Bishop Sarah. You will provide secretarial, personal and administrative support for the Bishop, ensuring the smooth running of the Bishop’s office in a way which is compatible with its location in the Bishop’s home, a home which will include dogs. The managing of Bishop Sarah’s diary with foresight, understanding, discipline and sensitivity is vital to the role.

Pro-active, adaptable, with strong interpersonal skills and a high level of administrative competence you will be comfortable with working alone when the Bishop is out of the office and also enjoy being an active part of a team of people working in other locations across the diocese; in particular working closely with the Bishop of Durham’s office. You will have a flexible approach to duties and hours

The main responsibilities for this role are;

Management of the Bishop’s diary including:

  • advanced planning and management of the Bishop’s diary in line with her priorities.
  • organising all appointments and practical arrangements for all visits and meetings.
  • ensuring that the Bishop of Jarrow is fully prepared for meetings, visits and services
  • ensuring that sufficient quality preparation time is diarised
  • making bookings and arranging travel and accommodation for the Bishop and others travelling with them.

Dealing with incoming mail and enquiries, including:

  • opening incoming mail, receiving e-mails (to the extent required) and handling a wide range of telephone enquiries with confidence on behalf of the Bishop; and assisting by suggesting priorities, providing information and attaching relevant paperwork.
  • dealing with matters and making appropriate replies to the extent authorised by the Bishop.
  • in the absence of the Bishop, making interim replies, referring enquiries elsewhere and seeking advice as needed.
  • monitoring progress on mail and enquiries, and bringing forward matters for the Bishop’s attention when necessary.

Preparation of documents, reports and other papers including:

  • researching and gathering information as required.
  • preparing correspondence and papers from handwritten or electronic drafts, and adapting to presentation standard of documents, as required by the Bishop.
  • ensuring all orders of services have been submitted to the Bishop from parishes for proof reading for Licensing of Clergy, Confirmation and Cathedral services.
  • ministerial Development Review paperwork has been collated in preparation of the Bishop undertaking the clergy review meeting.
  • using Microsoft Powerpoint to prepare presentations on behalf of the Bishop, as and when required.
  • maintaining databases, spreadsheets and written records.
  • preparing agendas and documents for groups or committees as required by the Bishop.
  • attending meetings and preparing minutes or action notes under the guidance of the Bishop.

Management of administrative systems in the office, including:

  • developing and operating administrative systems and procedures.
  • setting up and maintaining filing systems and records, ensuring security and confidentiality of records.
  • keeping records of expenses and any other financial matters as required, including liaison with the Church Commissioners and Diocesan office staff.
  • liaise with the Bishop of Durham’s office to update/share information stored via the electronic shared documents.
  • arranging maintenance and repair of office equipment and provision of office supplies.
  • overseeing that the office database is kept up to date.
  • ensuring that the office is appropriately presentable to receive visitors professionally


  • act as liaison on behalf of the Bishop to arrange meetings with vocations enquirers, ordinands, and curates in the Diocese.
  • liaise with the Diocesan Department of Ministry and Mission Support Team to obtain necessary reports or paperwork required by the Bishop.


  • dealing with all day to day financial matters including drawing cheques for signature and on-line banking.
  • managing the day to day running of the bank account held by the Bishop.
  • making payments and the keeping of records as required. Submitting the quarterly returns to the Bishoprics and Cathedrals Department at Church House (Church of England).
  • administering the Bishop’s Official Expenses


  • planning of official events, organising catering and arranging hospitality for visitors throughout the year.
  • Attendance at special services and social events as agreed with the Bishop
  • Other duties broadly in line with these from time to time as instructed by the Bishop and those she nominates

The ideal candidate must have;



  • Demonstrable experience in an administration/Executive Assistant/PA role in a highly pressurised environment requiring tact, judgement and discretion in handling internal and external contacts
  • Experience of complex diary management, research and booking of travel and accommodation
  • Experience of successfully working with senior management
  • Experience of Minute Taking


  • High standard of literacy and numeracy
  • Expert level in the use of outlook and word
  • Intermediate level in the use of excel and PowerPoint


  • Excellent organisational skills, ability to multi-task and organise others
  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written and ability to professionally represent the Bishop’s office
  • Ability to work under pressure and be flexible as part of a small team
  • Attention to detail and deadlines
  • Ability to think ahead and anticipate needs before they arise
  • Ability to exercise discretion in dealing with confidential or sensitive matters
  • Confident and able to work on own initiative without supervision
  • Ability to develop and maintain good working relationships at all levels, including during difficult or challenging circumstances
  • Ability to prioritise and manage own workload amid conflicting demands and busy work periods
  • Ability to filter information and assess priorities
  • Willingness to undertake training as required



  • Financial management and book keeping
  • Knowledge of structure and life of the Church of England


  • Proficient keyboard skills, including audio typing (desirable) and IT applications


  • Attendance when required at meetings to take minutes/work at the Diocesan Office (Durham) and Bishop of Durham’s Office (Bishop Auckland)
  • Willingness to assist the Bishop with hospitality at very occasional weekend/evening functions
  • Sympathy with the Christian faith and supportive of the aims and objectives of the Church of England

Non-clergy staff will be automatically enrolled into the in the Pension Builder 2014 Pension Plan (PB2014) in line with legislation unless they choose to opt out. Clergy already in the Church

of England Funded Pensions Scheme (CEFPS) will have the option of either remaining in this scheme or joining the CAPF scheme.

Bishops Staff have an income protection insurance arrangement. To be eligible for cover under this policy an employee must be a member of the (PB2014) scheme. Please note that insurance cover is not necessarily automatic, and that underwriting may be required by the schemes in some instances (for example if you do not join the scheme at the first available opportunity or opt out of the scheme and subsequently re-join). Cover will be subject to any terms and conditions laid down by the insurance company.

As we are a member of the Armed Forces Covenant, we welcome all applications from those of you have served in our Armed Forces and their families

We are committed to building a culturally diverse workforce. As part of this commitment, we welcome applications from people, regardless of their background. As a Disability Confident committed employer, it is important to note that there may be occasions where it is not practical or appropriate to interview all disabled applicants who meet the minimum criteria* due to high volume. We limit the amount of interviews conducted to five applicants per open post we advertise.

*Where applicable depending on post requirements.