Guide to the process

Making it Easier to run a parish during a vacancy and work towards selecting the best possible new incumbent

Parishes approach a forthcoming vacancy with a range of emotions. There can be sadness at the departure of your incumbent; there is often trepidation about what the future holds; there can be concerns over the number of tasks that parishes need to do.
Yet the time of vacancy can also be an opportunity for parishes. A time to review a parish’s mission and purpose, strengths and weaknesses, role and vision. Above all, it’s a time to discern God’s will for the parish.
The vacancy process can seem complex, daunting and frustrating. We hope that our guidance, and the additional support you can get from the Archdeacons and St James’ House staff, will enable your parish to thrive and discern the will of God during this time.
To make it easier to understand the process and your role in it we’ve created seven steps. This guide gives an overview of each step with what you need to do. 

Your Guide to the Vacancy Process

Our seven-step process

To make it easier to follow our process then we have seven steps to guide you through. The steps are outlined below and the links on the right take you through each step. 

Step one - Our Diocese prepares

  • We want to make sure that diocesan staff and the parish are able to plan fully for a smooth vacancy

Step two - The Parish prepares

  • A parish needs to look at a number of matters and the legislation requires some formal meetings (Section 11 and 12)

Step three - Running a parish

  • During your vacancy, you will still need to keep your parish functioning. This is often a time when different people’s gifts come to the fore. Our guide “Your responsibilities during a vacancy” helps make it easier to carry out all the tasks.

Step four  - Preparing a parish profile

  • The parish profile is the key document to discern the right person for your parish. It is your opportunity to state clearly what you are like, the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead and how the new priest will fit in. Our guide to “preparing a parish profile” gives plenty of support and advice

Step five - Advertising the vacancy

  • We want all parties to be satisfied that we have the best information in order to attract the right person to your parish

Step six -  Interview and appointment

  • We know that many people want to have a say in appointing a candidate but we also know the process works better with a carefully selected group managing the process. We aim to limit the numbers involved in interviews to 4/5 and manage the interview day so it offers the best possible experience for parish and candidate.

Step seven - Settling in new incumbent

  • We believe the first 100 days of a new ministry can make or break a priest’s time in the parish. It is important that we do all we can to settle in a new priest.



To discuss this process in more details please contact our Appointments Secretary:

Warren Hartley
St James' House
20 St James Road
Liverpool L1 7BY
0151 705 2178

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