We are currently in a “pastoral vacancy” – that means that our last minister, Jane, has retired after a long and happy time with us, and now we have begun to look for another minister.
We are all challenged to pray for God’s guidance at each stage of this journey, and we do all we can, perhaps by offering extra service, to maintain the life, fellowship and witness of our church as we build on all we now have.
The Baptist Union has Regional Ministers who support and look after the interests of Baptist churches and ministers across the counties and regions. Ours is the Rev. Mike Fegredo (part of the East Midlands Baptist Association Team), and he will be helping our Deacons and Church Members to think about this process. He will help the church draw up a church profile which will help us to think about the sort of church we are, the sort of work we hope to develop in coming years, and the sort of minister we feel might be right to lead us onwards.
We have now appointed an “Interim Minister,” Revd. Roger Gray to guide and chair our Church and Deacons’ meetings during the pastoral vacancy.
Our profile will then go to the Baptist Union’s monthly National Settlement Board, and they match churches’ profiles with that of ministers and students looking for a church. They will send the deacons the names of several candidates each month, together with their own profile, for prayerful consideration.
If the deacons feel that God might be calling us to approach one of these names, they will look to set up a first meeting with one of the candidates. If that goes well, the minister will be invited to come to preach on a convenient Sunday.
After this the Church Meeting will meet to hear what God is saying. If the church meeting and the minister are positive about moving forwards together, the minister will be asked to return to “preach with a view” to the pastorate. On that Sunday there would be a wider opportunity for the church as a whole to meet with the candidate and get to know them a little better.
Soon after that Sunday, a further Church Meeting will consider issuing a call to the candidate to become our minister. The vote would of course need to be a very clear endorsement of that call.
Typically a minister currently serving in another church would need to give 3 months’ notice to their current church: a student would begin after ordination at the end of their final academic year.
If you have further questions about this process do speak with any of the deacons.