Vicar of Kildwick, Cononley & Bradley

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Kildwick, Cononley and Bradley
Office Holder

Our vision as the Diocese of Leeds 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 both visionary and enabling. The new incumbent will have a joyful and humbly confident faith which has inspired a track record of church growth, both numerically and spiritually.

The Parish of Kildwick, Cononley and Bradley is both ancient and very recent. The Parish of Kildwick, and St Andrew’s church, predate to Doomsday Book, while the three churches and two former parishes became a single parish in September 2019

For an informal chat about this vacancy please contact Archdeacon Andy Jolley on 07973 458403

Closing date for applications is 21st Nov with interviews / visit planned for 2nd/3rd December 2021

The Parish of Kildwick, Cononley and Bradley is both ancient and very recent. The Parish of Kildwick, and St Andrew’s church, predate to Doomsday Book, while the three churches and two former parishes (Kildwick & Cononley with Bradley) became a single parish in September 2019.

Cononley and Bradley are to some extent “dormitory” villages with little local employment. At the 2011 census, the population was 2200. 23% were retired people and 17% under 16. 25% were in the 45-59 age bracket. Almost all were white British and 66% claimed Christian affiliation. Since then some new housing has been built in Cononley, increasing the parish’s population significantly, but with little change to the overall demographic profile.

The population of 2900 in the former parish of Kildwick at the 2011 census was similarly comprised, with 20% over 65, 18% under 16, 22% aged 45-59, 67% claiming Christian affiliation and 96% being white British. The population of the village of Kildwick was 194. Farnhill had 509 people, but most of the parish’s population live in the Cross Hills part of the parish.

The previous incumbent was an Interim Minister who followed on from the long ministries of her predecessors in the two former parishes. Over four years she helped the two former parishes through pastoral reorganisation into the new parish, and established coherent and manageable patterns of worship across the three villages. She also helped create the new PCC with sub-committees to oversee its main functions across the three churches. In this time the long-desired reordering of St John’s Cononley (an LEP with the Methodists) finally took place and conversations continued about the way forward for the Grade I listed St Andrew’s church building, leading up to its designation as a Major Church.

From the perspective of the Episcopal Area, we see the overarching responsibility of the new incumbent is to provide enabling leadership, which will foster growth numerically as well as spiritually and in service to their local community. Within this, we see four particular priorities for the incoming vicar:

  1. To help the churches to re-emerge well from the pandemic and to reconnect in creative ways with their local village communities, and also with the community of Crosshills. We expect that this will involve both the incumbent being a visible community presence and also enabling and supporting the congregations to play active roles in their community. The incumbent should be able to engage strategically with the life of the communities, and to help the churches find their place within them.
  1. To build up lay ministry from the three congregations, developing pathways for greater discipleship and increased lay leadership, and encouraging individuals to develop and use their gifts and talents.
  1. Building on previous good initiatives and good relationships with schools, to develop and implement a sustainable strategy for effective and appropriate ministry and styles of worship to reach out to families, young people and children to grow young people as Christians.
  1. To continue to bring the congregations of the three churches closer together, bed in the new governance structures, and realise the potential benefits of shared approaches to ministry, mission, finance etc.

Our ideal candidate would be someone with:

  • Proven track record of commitment to and delivery of church growth
  • Track record of empowering and enabling leadership which builds up lay ministry teams, develops new leaders and grows the confidence and gifts of God’s people
  • Track record of inspiring vision in the face of changing circumstances and developing appropriate strategies
  • Experience of helping congregations engage with the local community
  • Experience of initiating new ‘context appropriate’ forms of worship, especially during the pandemic, as part of a wide-range ‘mixed economy’ of worship and mission
  • Experience of developing and overseeing effective ministry with children, young people and families
  • Good listening and communication skills
  • Ablility to lead in the parish’s stewardship of time, money and energy by example and teaching.
  • Ablility to oversee the parish’s responsibilities for governance, buildings and finances.

The parish is located in one of the wealthier part of the Diocese, but finances have been a long-term challenge which has impacted both payment of share and the ability to provide paid administrative support to the vicar. Stewardship will therefore be an important aspect of the next incumbent’s role.

The Diocese currently owns a former vicarage in Cononley, which can be used for the new incumbent. It remains our intention to find a more suitably located property, and the search for one continues.

The Deanery of South Craven and Wharfedale, now nearly 5 years old, is comprised of parishes with a similar demographic to Kildwick, Cononley and Bradley, many of whom are experimenting with mixing new approaches to worship and mission alongside inherited patterns. The new incumbent will therefore find a group of creative and supportive colleagues in the Deanery chapter, all of whom will be familiar with the joys and challenges that each other faces. We expect the new post holder to work with a spirit of generosity in sharing wisdom and insights about ministry within the Deanery of South Craven and Wharfedale, and across the Episcopal Area.