Rector of Penshurst, Fordcombe and the Chiddingstone Churches

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Penshurst, Fordcombe and the Chiddingstone Churches
Office Holder

Our new benefice near Tonbridge, Kent, is focussed on working together to spread God’s good news and grow His church in this place. We are looking for a full time Rector who will lead our involved, enthusiastic congregation to include more families and a wider community in our worship.

…I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then said I, “Here am I; send me”. Isaiah 6:8

Who we are

We are a new benefice, formed from two former benefices and four parishes in west Kent, 30 miles south of London.

We are seeking a full-time Rector to be senior leader of the new benefice, who can capture the groundswell of enthusiasm for this change and engage with young people and families to grow God’s church in this part of his vineyard.

The parishes of St Mary’s Chiddingstone, St Luke’s Chiddingstone Causeway, St John the Baptist’s Penshurst and St Peter’s Fordcombe are thriving communities in which our churches play an important part. We enjoy:

  • a beautiful rural landscape with a patchwork of farmland, hills and woods yet very close to the major towns of Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks.
  • a mixed population of all ages and occupations.
  • four churches and a chapel, three church primary schools, two nurseries and a toddler group
  • three village shops, three cafés, a farm shop, a farmers’ market and lots of pubs.
  • a stately home (Penshurst Place) and a castle (Chiddingstone Castle).

We already benefit from many friendships across the new benefice and the events of 2020 have highlighted our sense of community and Christian outreach. The church and its group of lay helpers provided a network of practical support and pastoral care for all those in need during lock-down. Our services went on-line ensuring we were able to worship together in the hardest moments. Our churches remain in good financial and structural shape.

Our Vision:

Our vision for the new Benefice is:

  • To work together to put the church at the heart of our communities.
  • To advance the spiritual growth of our children and young people by embracing our schools and local families.
  • To form an integrated council and administration covering the whole of the benefice from the outset, while allowing each village church to maintain its identity.
  • To be diverse, open and dynamic, welcoming all-comers.
  • To be of active service to our communities and wider world.

Our Need:

We pray for a priest to strengthen the roots of our faith, to help us bear fruit for our communities, to bring the good news of God’s Son, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ to all and grow His church in this place. We hope our new priest will:

  • Refresh our church with love, vision and energy, bringing us together and embedding the church at the heart of our newly united communities, enhancing the Christian fellowship of our parishes.
  • Expand our outreach to families, using our local church schools as springboard toward the involvement of younger parishioners.
  • Continue to support the older, traditional part of communities with traditional liturgical worship.
  • Be a good communicator who enjoys involvement with parishioners in a wide variety of both spiritual and social activities.
  • Have a warm personality, a sense of humour and fun.
  • Be a good listener who can bring together a broad range of views.
  • Challenge us with Christian education such as Lent and Advent discussion groups.
  • Be a good mentor towards the assistant priest in the benefice and encourage more lay ministry
  • Provide pastoral care to our community.
  • Embrace the thriving nature of the our community, acting as a shepherd to a widespread, diverse flock.
  • Provide leadership on safeguarding and encourage all to contribute toward creating a safer church.

Our Offer:

You will find, in our Benefice, a genuinely warm welcome and:

  • A supportive congregation with enthusiasm for the new benefice with a readiness to embrace change.
  • A clerical and lay team consisting of an experienced assistant priest (The Revd William MacDougall who works Sundays + 3 days), a licensed lay minister plus a pastoral assistant and two part-time paid administrators.
  • An experienced team of church wardens, treasurers, organisers and other enthusiastic volunteers.
  • An attractive home in a four-bedroomed Rectory and garden at the heart of Penshurst, a beautiful village.
  • A wide choice of excellent schools if you have a young family.
  • An opportunity to prove leadership and make an impact on a group of communities who are setting out on a new path, asking for help and ready to give a warm welcome.

… “Who will go for us?” Is God calling you to us? Will you lead us?

Further Information and Application/Interview Details

Closing date for applications: 7 May 2021

Interviews to be held on: 14 June 2021

Appointment to this role is subject to obtaining Enhanced DBS with barred list check.

Should you have any questions, please contact Maria Campbell, EA to the Archdeacon of Tonbridge, at

For further information about the Diocese of Rochester, please see:

The Diocese of Rochester is committed to the safeguarding and protection of all children, young people and adults. We will carefully select, train and support all those with any responsibility within the Church, in line with Safer Recruitment principles.