St Stephen’s Church in Steeton is an important church within the Bradford Episcopal Area and the Diocese of Leeds. It is a significant focal point in its local community, and the finances and buildings have been well managed. The last incumbency was disappointingly short, and dominated by the pandemic. While it ended well, it was not long enough for new developments, such as worship which nourishes a broader age-range and a Mission Action Plan, to be fully understood and bedded-in.
We see the overarching responsibility of the new incumbent is to provide clear and enabling leadership, which will foster growth numerically as well as spiritually and in service to their local community. We are therefore seeking an enabling leader, capable of managing change carefully and sensitively, who can work with the congregation of St Stephen’s to reimagine and recover ministry following the pandemic, grow the church, develop confident discipleship, and nurture relationships within the village and local community in creative ways. Especially given the part-time nature of this post, we are seeking a person who can develop others into ministry and leadership alongside them. Within this overall responsibility, we see three particular priorities for the incoming vicar:
The person appointed will
1. Provide clear and enabling leadership to the congregation, fostering growth in discipleship, spirituality and service to the local community, and leading change carefully and sensitively. The Vicar will grow lay leaders to work alongside her/him in this work, developing pathways for greater discipleship and increased lay leadership, and encouraging individuals to develop in their faith and use their gifts and talents. (S)he will therefore need excellent teaching, team building and team leadership skills.
2. Develop and sustain initiatives which will foster growth in numbers across all age groups. This is likely to include the development of a ‘mixed economy’ of new forms of church and worship alongside traditional ones to grow a wider diversity of ages in the congregation.
3. Work with others to keep the bigger horizon in view, seeing St Stephen’s as an instrument of the Kingdom of God in Steeton and Eastburn, led by the Holy Spirit to be servants of the community alongside other agencies whilst also bringing a prophetic voice to the church and community.
4. Work with the PCC to help the church to re-emerge well from the pandemic and to reconnect in creative ways with the local village community, engaging strategically with the life of the community and with statutory, voluntary and community agencies in the villages, including the two local Primary Schools and the Scout Group and Brownie Pack.
Amongst other things we are looking for someone with:
The Diocese of Leeds was formed at Easter 2014. It is one of the largest dioceses in the country covering an area of around 2425 square miles and a population of around 2642400 people. The diocese comprises five Episcopal areas, each served by a suffragan Bishop. Each Episcopal Area is coterminous with an Archdeaconry.
The Diocesan Vision is ‘confident Christians, growing churches, transforming communities and so helping share the Good News of Jesus Christ across our Diocese’. This Vision is embedded into the Diocesan Strategy and Goals:
1. Thriving as a distinctive diocese whose culture is shaped by a shared vision and values
2. Re-imagining ministry
3. Nurturing lay discipleship
4. Building Leadership pathways
5. Growing young people as Christians
The Diocese is a mix of urban and rural. The area includes the major cities of Bradford, Leeds and Wakefield; the large industrial and post-industrial towns of Halifax, Huddersfield and Dewsbury; the market towns of Harrogate, Skipton, Ripon, Richmond and Wetherby; and the deeply rural area of the Yorkshire Dales.
The Diocese in unique in having three cathedrals; Bradford, Ripon and Wakefield. The Deans of the Cathedrals work together to provide key diocesan services.