Vicar - Benefice and Parish of St Barnabas, Linthorpe

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St Barnabas’ is a flourishing diverse church family — numerically the largest in the Archdeaconry of Cleveland. This is an open evangelical parish with a wonderful living tradition of worship, Christian nurture, and community involvement. There have been significant and exciting developments during the recently-retired vicar’s twenty years here. The people are eager to build on them, to pray and work with their new vicar, and be led by God into the next phase of the parish’s life.

St Barnabas’ serves an area of Middlesbrough with a variety of housing, with lifelong residents, others who reflect the town’s changing population, the town’s welcome to asylum seekers and refugees, and of course its many students. In addition, because of its distinctive evangelical voice, the church attracts worshippers from a wide area.

The Diocese of York has identified strategic goals, among which is Reaching those we currently don’t, with an emphasis on young adults (20s-40s) and people living in poverty — both being under-represented in the Diocese’s life. We would envisage St Barnabas’ potentially being a significant hub for this aspect of mission in the future.

This post is an opportunity for a collaborative servant leader who will love the people for whom St Barnabas’ is — or will be — their spiritual home; one who will appreciate the community of the parish and understand what makes Middlesbrough a great place to be; and one who is, first and foremost, a friend of Jesus who deeply desires to see others grow in faith and whose daily prayer is that God’s Kingdom may be a reality for the people of the parish.

Bishop Paul Whitby

St Barnabas is a lively evangelical church, open to the gifts of the Spirit. Our vision is “Making Disciples for Life” which underpins all that we do. Prayer upholds us and flows through the life of the church. We are a family church with a family atmosphere. We try to be welcoming and generous with the resources we have. There are strong links between us and with the community we serve. Like all families, we like to preserve what works well and is still valuable, and at the same time, change, refresh, move with the times, and plan for the future.

About 300 people attend regularly, of which 275 are on the electoral roll. Less than half of us live within the parish boundary, others are just outside the boundary or within a few miles of the church, and include students from the nearby Teesside University. The congregations range from newborns to the very elderly, including about 30 children and teenagers who attend church regularly, but we have a much larger fringe of families who attend special services and midweek events. We have many gifted people among the congregation who give their time and skills to the services, worship, activities and groups which run through the week.

One of our strengths has long been, and is still, the quality and depth of Biblical and spiritual teaching. We have been very blessed by gifted and passionate preachers through the years. We would certainly wish for this to continue into the future.

St Barnabas has long enjoyed rich and diverse musical worship. The character and style of worship can range from an anthem from our traditional robed choir, to modern worship songs led by a music group or youth band. The different flavours of the services attract different people. We see this as a strength; to be able to allow for different styles and needs. However, we also recognise it has the potential to hinder a sense of unity of the whole family. Maintaining a sense of common direction and purpose across the church would be a focus for leadership at St Barnabas.

Middlesbrough is an exciting place to be at the moment with significant investment in the economic life of the town; a rapid growth in housing to the south of the town to take advantage of the impressive commuter links to Leeds, York, Newcastle and Durham; a world class teaching hospital and a growing university campus on the edge of Linthorpe parish. There are also still significant pockets of deprivation, not least because Middlesbrough is increasingly a welcoming home for refugees in the north of England. The family of St Barnabas has a higher proportion of working professionals than the wider population in the parish. This has its plus points; we have many skilled and gifted people who take responsibility for services, pastoral care, worship and events and do this to a high standard. We can afford to be a generous church to the diocese and the community. The leadership can focus on overseeing and guiding without getting bogged down in the detail. However, we need to be increasingly aware of the needs of the poorest in our parish. We want to make our church a place where everyone fits in and feel like they belong. Our new vicar will need to be a people person, with the ability to encourage us to unite in love, valuing all members from the youngest to the oldest whatever their background.

  • A clear thinker, able to set the direction of travel for our growing church and bring common purpose across the diverse congregations.
  • A gifted and inspirational communicator, a preacher and teacher of the gospel, able to lead us, wherever we are on our journey, into a deeper understanding of God’s message.
  • The ability to challenge us to look and reach outward beyond our familiar church buildings, routines and family, to be a real and tangible presence in our community and across the town.
  • A committed evangelical able to spread the Good News and ignite an infectious passion for God
  • A skilled enabler, with the ability to discover, encourage and develop gifts that allow groups and individuals to reach their full potential.
  • The ability to work collaboratively. To pastor and encourage the diverse congregations of St Barnabas to become adaptable and imaginative in their own gifts and skills. ​

We are part of the Diocese of York, led by the Archbishop, the Most Revd and Rt Hon Dr John Sentamu. The Diocese is the Church of England from the Humber to the Tees and from the general area of the A1 and East Coast main railway line to the North Sea. In the Diocese there are about 450 parishes and 600 church buildings. Our diocesan vision is to be Generous Churches Making and Nurturing Disciples and our mission is to see Growth in Christlikeness, commitment, partnership, influence and numbers. You can read more about it at — click the tab marked Generous Churches.

Middlesbrough Deanery is made up of 19 parishes, 17 of which are in the 20% most deprived in England. St Barnabas plays an active part in the life of the Middlesbrough Deanery, supporting and hosting deanery events and maintaining links with other local parishes. We also support Together Middlesbrough and Cleveland both financially and practically, a joint initiative between the Diocese of York and the Church Urban Fund, working closely with other churches, to initiate and support wider local church action against poverty.

If you would like to have an informal conversation about this post, please contact the Bishop of Whitby, the Rt Revd Paul Ferguson (01642 593273), or the Archdeacon of Cleveland, the Ven Samantha Rushton (01642 706095).

Our official website can be found here:

Deadline for applications: Thursday 4th October 2018
Interviews are scheduled for: Thursday 25th October 2018

Full details about this opportunity can be found in the attached documents.

The post is open to priests of the Church of England or a church in full communion with it. Appointment is subject to a satisfactory Enhanced DBS disclosure.

Unfortunately it is not always straightforward for clergy who are nationals of countries outside the European Economic Area to be appointed to posts in the Church of England. The policy of the UK Border Agency is that normally the organisation making the appointment has been able to prove that it is impossible to appoint a person who is a national of a European Economic Area country, before a visa giving permission to work will be issued to a person who comes from elsewhere.