Rector of The Lower Swale Benefice

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Lower Swale

The Benefice of Lower Swale includes two parishes in the northern Vale of York, to the west of Northallerton. There are eight churches united into two parishes: Ainderby Steeple with Yafforth and Kirby Wiske with Maunby, and Kirkby Fleetham with Langton on Swale and Scruton. These work in close cooperation, and have grown together during the vacancy. The Benefice is now seeking a Rector to provide priestly leadership, model prayerfulness, encourage discipleship, grow lay ministries and be a sign of grace and blessing in our communities.

We enjoy a strong ministry to children and youth and would want our new Rector to be involved in this ministry. We are presently in the process of closing one of our church buildings in order to provide a more effective and efficient ministry across the Benefice. We are mostly small congregations but willing and capable and we believe we can be a greater Christian presence and witness, with the right leadership.

Situated on the River Swale in the northern Vale of York, we are well positioned for the Yorkshire Moors and Yorkshire Dales National Park and with easy access to Northallerton (3 miles), Darlington (23 miles), York (34 miles), Ripon, (18 miles) Harrogate (35 miles), Leeds (49 miles) and Newcastle (57 miles). Northallerton station is on the East Coast Mainline. The lovely Rectory, in Ainderby Steeple, is purpose built, modern and spacious with delightful views. We have vibrant village communities which, through strong community spirit, work together to raise funds, promote wellbeing and participate in social events in the local village halls.

You will be supported by 4 Wardens, 6 Assistant Wardens, aHouse for Duty Priest (to be appointed), a Licensed Reader and Retired Clergy. There is a part-time Administrator in place to support you and the work of the Benefice. The young Diocese of Leeds is committed to your on-going training, development and well-being. A full driving licence is essential.

For an informal conversation with the Area Bishop or if you require any further information please contact the office of the Bishop of Ripon, the Rt. Rev’d Dr Helen-Ann Hartley c/o Tel: 01765 601094

The closing date is Wednesday 12th June at 12 noon

The shortlisting meeting will be held on Monday 17th June

Interviews will be held on Monday 8th July

The two united parishes of Lower Swale are made up of eight churches which comprise several small villages and hamlets near the River Swale. During the vacancy, the two PCCs have piloted a new model for meetings whereby they meet on the same evening to engage with benefice matters. Although it is still early days, this is proving effective in uniting the benefice and drawing church communities into closer relationship and cooperation. The parishes have also reviewed their service patterns to ensure they have something that is more sustainable. These structures will need to be reviewed and assessed by the new incumbent and PCCs within a 6-12 months period of the new appointment and as these models continue to become embedded.

A licensed Lay Reader, the Churchwardens and the generous support of retired clergy will assist you in this. There is a part-time Administrator in post to support to support the incumbent and the work of the Benefice. Support will also be provided by a House for Duty priest (situation vacant).

This Benefice requires a rector to provide priestly leadership, model prayerfulness, encourage discipleship, grow lay ministries and be a sign of grace and blessing in the communities. Rural ministry requires a priest who will live among the people and who will engage in and care about rural and social matters. It is essential that the new vicar is sociable, confident in initiating conversations and keen to participate in village life.

Uniquely, we enjoy a strong ministry to children and youth and would want our new priest to encourage us in our commitment to this ministry. We are presently in the process of closing one of our church buildings in order to provide a more effective and efficient ministry across the Benefice.

The congregations are mostly small, but there is a willingness and keenness among the lay leadership to explore mission action planning so that the churches become a greater Christian presence and witness, in these communities. The PCCs are looking for someone who will inspire the laity to think more imaginatively about how they engage in mission and outreach.

The Diocese takes your well-being very seriously and it is expected that the churchwardens will work with the incumbent to ensure days off, holidays, quiet days and retreats are taken.

We are looking for a Rector who is:

  • A strong team leader, well organised, able to listen sympathetically and to delegate when necessary.
  • Prayerful and has collaborative vision and leadership to develop the mission of the Church in this Benefice.
  • Aware of the role of the Church in the community by being a visible presence and engaging actively with people.

And is able to:

  • Embrace a range of worship patterns and to initiate change in a sensitive manner.
  • Build links with families who are not regular church attenders
  • Engage with and providing pastoral care for those of all ages
  • Develop imaginative and creative ways of drawing people into church
  • Have understanding and love of people and desire to lead them deeper into the mystery of God’s love
  • Have understanding of every person growing in their gifts, skills and ministry
  • Help develop a vision for the life, ministry and growth of this rural Benefices
  • Have commitment to help the churches to grow together
  • Develop what is already in place, to grow the relationship with local church and community schools and build on work with young people.
  • Nurture all age groups in the life of faith and enabling all members to grow spiritually
  • Have excellent and proven communication skills, not least in preaching and teaching
  • Continue building links and develop opportunities with individuals and community groups
  • Have the desire to inspire, motivate and encourage the faithful, both individually and collectively, and ensure that the various gifts and talents are used effectively
  • Help develop further the ecumenical links

For more information about this application process, please use this link

The Anglican Diocese of Leeds comprises five Episcopal Areas, each coterminous with an Archdeaconry. This is now one of the largest dioceses in the country, and its creation is unprecedented in the history of the Church of England. It covers an area of around 2,425 square miles, and a population of around 2,642,400 people.

The three former dioceses were created in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to cater for massive population changes brought about by industrialisation and, later, mass immigration. The diocese comprises major cities (Bradford, Leeds, Wakefield), large industrial and post-industrial towns (Halifax, Huddersfield, Dewsbury), market towns (Harrogate, Skipton, Ripon, Richmond and Wetherby), and deeply rural areas (the Dales). The whole of life is here, along with all the richness, diversity and complexities of a changing world.

The Diocesan Bishop (The Rt Rev’d Nick Baines) is assisted by five Area Bishops (Bradford, Huddersfield, Kirkstall, Wakefield and Ripon), and five archdeacons (Bradford, Halifax, Leeds, Pontefract, Richmond & Craven). The parish of Bolton Priory lies in the Skipton Deanery of the Ripon Episcopal Area, in the Archdeaconry of Richmond and Craven. The Bishop of Ripon is the Rt Rev’d Dr Helen-Ann Hartley.

Our vision as the Diocese is about confident clergy equipping confident Christians to live and tell the good news of Jesus Christ. For all of our appointments we are seeking clergy who have a joyful and confident faith which has inspired a track record of church growth, both numerically and spiritually.