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The Bishop of Rochester is seeking to appoint a Priest-in-Charge who will serve half time in the parish of St Barnabas and half time in the parish of St Mary Magdalene, both in Gillingham, Kent.

The two parishes are adjacent to one another and cover a total population of approximately 25,000 people. As well as being geographically close together, they are demographically similar, and the two worshipping communities share a similar churchmanship.

As well as developing the existing worshipping community life of th two churches, there is significant scope for the right candidate to work creatively across both parishes in a variety of areas, including discipleship; youth, children and schools work; ministry among vulnerable communities (such as the homeless); work with those in residential care homesettings. St Mary's parish has a large team of Lay ministers who, along with other members of both congregations, are willing to work across parish boundaries to enable the whole area to flourish. The neighbouring parish of St Augustine's, Gillingham - another church in a similar tradition - has a full time Priest-in-Charge and SSM curate and is also keen to explore working with the parishes of St Barnabas and St Mary's. A project has recently begun to seek funding for a Community Missioner who would work across all three parishes, as well as the parish of St Mark's in Gillingham Town Centre.

Who we are ....

St Barnabas Church, Gillingham

Welcome to St Barnabas Church, Gillingham. We are a forward-looking, welcoming, prayerful church, whose future ministry and mission in this area is inextricably linked to the founding context of this church, a church that was built by the people, for its people, by God’s infinite grace. To this end we are open to new ways of bringing God’s truth and love to all in our parish and to those whose paths we cross. We are ambitious to grow to be the
earthly face of God, with a view to supporting our community further by encouraging, listening and being available in times of need and by witnessing to the love of God for and within this area of Medway. We have a strong lay leadership, enthused by the gains to be
had from creative collaboration and excited to see what the future holds with a new priest to help us develop and renew our discipleship.

St Mary Magdalene Church, Gillingham

Welcome to St Mary Magdalene Church, Gillingham. St Mary’s is the historic parish church for this ancient town on the banks of the River Medway, with its rich industrial and military heritage. The parish of St Mary’s now makes up the north side of Gillingham town
centre, including its football stadium, railway station and the bottom end of the High Street. As a parish we strive to reach out to serve the people among whom we live, work and worship. In recent years, we have pursued a mission strategy, loosely termed 'fling wide
the gates'. Guided by the Holy Spirit, we seek to demonstrate to the people of the area that they are loved by God, no matter what the circumstances of their life, and that they have a wonderful parish church on their doorstep, with so much to offer them in terms of hospitality and community as well as sacred space and active worship.

The role ….

St Barnabas, Gillingham says:

In the spirit of ‘Called Together’, the Diocesan framework, we are looking for a new, halftime Priest-in-Charge, who will simultaneously and equally be Priest-in-charge at St Mary Magdalene Church, one of our neighbouring parishes. We hope that our new priest will work with us to bless the parish of St Barnabas, inside and outside of the church, as well as guiding us towards finding new and creative ways which will enable our two parishes to work together, and alongside our other near neighbour at St Augustine’s, Gillingham. All three churches have a similar churchmanship, which might be described as traditional Eucharistic Anglican worship, but each offers markedly different resources and strengths.Working with different priests, mostly retired, has offered us the opportunity to experience and enjoy different styles of worship. We value diversity as a means of connecting with a range of people wherever they are in their own personal faith journey. At St Barnabas, as a result of a threat of closure, God has brought us to the realisation of the need to be more outward looking. We see our mission as actively seeking to work collaboratively with different churches, not only of our own tradition but beyond and with other local organisations and faith groups for the sake of the ‘shalom’ of our precious shared community.

St Mary Magdalene, Gillingham says:

We are looking for a new, half-time, Priest-in-Charge for St Mary’s, who will also be Priest-in Charge of St Barnabas, our neighbouring parish and involved in the wider life of North Gillingham churches. We are looking for a Priest-in-Charge who will explore creative ways to work together with our neighbouring parishes, especially at St Augustine’s and St Barnabas, Gillingham. They are churches of similar traditions and demographics to St Mary’s and there is much that we could do better together.

What we are hoping for ....

St Barnabas, Gillingham

St Barnabas Church has been without a vicar of its own for over ten years now, and we are excited to see what the future holds with a new priest at the helm. Encouraged by growing numbers and a more prominent presence in the local community, we are now looking forward to being challenged and led in new directions. In particular, we are hoping for someone who can:

  • Pray with us and for us as part of a community seeking God’s will for this part of Gillingham
  • Lead us in meaningful, accessible acts of worship where we draw closer to God together
  • Build, with us, a team that can lead St Barnabas into a confident and creative future
  • Preach and teach in ways that draw us further on in our personal and corporate discipleship
  • Discern and encourage vocations, especially to lay ministries, among members of 8 the St Barnabas congregation
  • Help us to re-imagine the way we use our buildings and our assets, creatively making use of the many assets available.
  • Work with us to build lively and productive links with the primary and secondary schools in our parish, and to grow our ministry with local families and children
  • Build on the work we undertake to support local vulnerable and isolated people currently including those that are homeless or vulnerably housed, elderly, disabled, isolated and marginalised and with residents in our care homes.
  • Help us to engage in new ways with our local community that we may be a living witness to the good news of Jesus Christ

In return, we would offer you:

  • An enthusiastic welcome, prayer and support
  • A congregation committed to pray, to learn and to get involved
  • A hardworking PCC, with a proven capability for managing the resources and maintenance of the fabric of the church and its holdings
  • An oasis of calm and quiet reflective space which is flexible, a sacred haven of ‘coolness and balm’ in the Summer months (we are working on the Winter months!)
  • Collectively an open mind, willing to try new things to open this church up for its community A good understanding of our local community, its strengths and its needs and our encouragement and collaboration in forging new links
  • A willingness to work with others to serve the people of the local area.
  • Support and respect for your privacy and time off
  • A small current team of retired priests who may continue to offer their services in some form in the future
  • A steaming cup of tea on those days when it’s cold in church(!)

Most of all, we are passionate about having a visionary and enterprising priest who wants to be here, who has a vision for utilising the potential of this space as a community resource, which makes welcome and offers Christ’s hospitality to anyone and everyone that works, lives or visits in the community. As we have been without a full-time priest since 2008, during which time the PCC has looked after this church, we are well aware of the demands looking after two churches will have on your time. We would continue to help as much as possible taking on aspects that we, as lay people, can lead, leaving you to focus on the cure of souls and growing our numbers, on being a priest.

St Mary Magdalene, Gillingham says:

The community in St Mary’s church seeks to be a caring and generous one. We have been through a lot of change over the past couple of years, with challenges and successes in equal measure. The PCC felt it important to engage with the congregation about their 22 hopes for our new Priest-in-Charge, in terms of who they would be and what they would help us to do, as they become part of the church family here. These conversations happened in all areas of church life, from those who have been here for many years to those who have recently joined.

They said:
We are looking for someone who can help us fulfill our aspiration to be a welcoming parish Church which can offer the local community hospitality, friendship, belonging and – most importantly of all – help them to encounter God, come to know the generous saving power of the Cross and be blessed and filled by the Holy Spirit. (please see the attached parish profile for more information)

Interview date: 16th September 2019

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