This benefice consists of three parishes on the eastern edge of Oxford diocese, with the large towns of Leighton Buzzard, Tring, Dunstable and Aylesbury within close proximity. The largest population centre is made up of the two villages of Pitstone (3000) and Ivinghoe (800). The smaller villages are Slapton, to the north, and Marsworth to the west of the benefice.
The focus of the Interim Priest in Charge role will be to help the benefice to come to terms with a difficult experience over the last few years and, more recently, pastoral breakdown between the churchwardens of the parishes. The role will need a strong leader who is highly emotionally intelligent and able to establish healthy governance systems across the benefice as the parishes seek to work more closely together.
Based on their work on mission action planning (in 2018), the parishes identified the following strengths, challenges and long term hopes, in addition to some more specific goals.
Challenges and opportunities:
It is hoped that the Interim Priest in Charge will lead a vision process for the whole benefice. It is envisaged that this process will help the churches to articulate a sustainable vision and mission plan for the next 5 years. The recruitment of a permanent Vicar will be based around this vision and mission plan.
The Interim Priest in Charge will:
The Ideal Candidate
The ideal candidate will:
The archdeaconry and diocese will offer appropriate training, mentoring and supervision, to be agreed in discussion with the new appointee.
The benefice is on the edge of Oxford diocese and borders St Albans diocese. The Grand Union Canal and the ancient Icknield Way both run through the benefice. There are two primary schools in the benefice, a village hall in each parish and several shops and facilities, mostly in Pitstone. The villages are served by several larger towns nearby and secondary education is mainly in these larger communities. There is a fast train line to London from nearby station in Tring and Cheddington.
The churches are all eucharistic and traditional (low church) in their main worship. There are opportunities for the benefice to worship together at regular intervals and each church has some lay-led or less formal worship. During lockdown, there has been weekly online worship led by the Aras Dean, a PtO priest or lay led. Engagement with the wider community is good in each parish and there is good families work led by the Licensed Lay Ministers. Each church has its own PCC and finances are handled on a parish basis.
There is a small ministry team of two experienced Licensed Lay Ministers and an ordinand (local ministry) who will work alongside the new Interim Priest-in-Charge. The team ministers across all the parishes in the benefice. The Ministry Team have met together regularly during the vacancy with guidance from the Area Dean.
The benefice is part of the rural deanery of Mursley within the Oxford diocese. These are exciting times for the deanery as several new appointments have been made in neighbouring benefices. So there is an opportunity here to minister within a new deanery team to develop mission and ministry in this part of Buckinghamshire.
The new Interim Priest-in-Charge will be committed to furthering the diocesan vision through which we seek to become a more Christ-like Church for the sake of God’s World – contemplative, compassionate and courageous – and to working with archdeaconry colleagues to re-establish healthy patterns of ministry across the benefice.
Enhanced DBS Required
Closing Date: 19 April
Interviews: 11 May