Parish Advisory Committee Guide 

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So, your Incumbent has announced they’re leaving. Now, what??? The Bishop will receive notice from your Incumbent indicating their intention to resign. The Bishop will then communicate with the Wardens. The territorial Archdeacon coordinates with the Chair of the PAC for the first meeting, at the request of the Bishop following the Incumbent’s departure.[1] In consultation with the Territorial Archdeacon, the Bishop may appoint a facilitator to help with the process.  

The Archdeacon will review the expectations of the PAC and answer any questions that may arise during the first meeting.  

Remember, this is a process that requires confidentiality and much prayer. The committee will need to plan to meet several times during this process; discerning your next Incumbent will not happen overnight. Don’t rush the process, take the time needed and be encouraged to use the resource staff available to you.  

What is a Parish Profile?

Your parish profile is what is a document that is reviewed by prospective clergy for your parish. It is a document that should give an impression of life, worship and ministry, a vision for the future and a suggested leadership characteristic of your future incumbent.  

You’ll want to paint a realistic picture of the present realities of the congregation(s) and have done some discernment and consideration of future ministry possibilities (ie: what is God at work doing in your area and what would He want your parish to be part of).  

This document may be the first impression for someone considering joining you in ministry.  

The Profile provides the facts and information about the parish – ministry/mission, property, finances, demographics and community life. Additionally, it provides a vision for the future of the parish. This document becomes a discernment tool for any future clergy who are considering joining your parish. You’ll want to consider the leadership style and giftings and how they align with the discerned vision for the future. PAC members will read all attached documents (Bishop’s Charges, 5 Marks of Mission, etc…) to assist in forming the Profile, which ought to be in line with the vision of the Synod and Bishop.  

When your final draft is completed, it goes to your Territorial Archdeacon for their review. At this point, the Archdeacon may return the document to the PAC with suggestions for further work and/or greater clarity. After this, the Territorial Archdeacon will forward the completed document to the Bishop’s Office.  

Who writes the Profile?

The parish corporation appoints a Parish Advisory Committee (PAC)[2] at its first meeting following the Annual Meeting, who oversees the writing of the profile. They are encouraged to find ways of hearing the voices of the wider parish (surveys, questionnaires, etc…).  

The Profile has been Approved!

When the Bishop has approved your Parish’s Profile, an announcement will be posted by the Bishop’s Office. The office will look after writing this announcement and the invitation for expressions of interest. This announcement will be posted to the diocesan website, clergy announcements and the national job listing.  

The Bishop’s Office will receive any expressions of interest and perform an initial assessment of the candidate. (All clergy from outside the diocese are expected to receive the blessing/support of their current bishop before applying anywhere else). The Bishop’s Office will then send the candidate a copy of the Parish Profile for their review and discernment. The Bishop may suggest candidates who have not expressed interest.  

If the priest wishes to continue, they submit a CV with three references and a written statement outlining why they feel called to ministry in your parish and this diocese. The Bishop’s Office will complete a more in-depth review and assessment of the candidate. The application will then be sent on to the PAC for review (the PAC is not required to proceed with the applicant. If it has been discerned that the candidate is not an appropriate fit for the parish, at this point they will have been removed from the process.).  

If the PAC wishes to proceed, the Bishop’s Office will help in coordinating a meeting/interview (if the candidate is from outside the diocese or at a significant distance, the first interview can be done over Zoom or other suitable teleconference platforms).  

**If the PAC does not wish to continue with the candidate, they are not required to continue the discernment for this candidate. If there were more than one candidate who expressed interest, the Bishop’s Office will forward the next application.  

The next step is to arrange for an interview with the candidate and the PAC. If the candidate attends in person, this is coordinated with the Bishop’s Office and the parish incurs costs[3] of the visit.  

During the visit, make sure time is budgeted for a tour of the community(ies), the buildings (including rectory if the parish owns one), schools (if appropriate). Remember that this process is meant to be confidential and discerning, making an announcement or public/parish event would not be appropriate; but meeting with a few key people in the parish is recommended.  

If both the PAC and the candidate prayerfully discern that they are the next Incumbent for your parish, contacting the Bishop’s Office is the next step. The Bishop will have a conversation with the candidate and begins the process of the final steps.  

**If the PAC discerns that the interviewed candidate is not the right fit, indication is given to the Bishop’s Office who will then notify the individual.  

The Final Steps

Once all parties (the candidate, the PAC and Bishop) have confirmed the call, involve the Diocesan Personnel Officer to discuss stipend, benefits, etc… (the diocese has a payroll scale). The start date will need to be negotiated; remember that if the candidate is leaving another parish, it is normal practice to provide three months’ notice (so they will not be starting right away). When the details are finalized, the Bishop’s Office will send a letter to the Parish Wardens to be read during the church service. The diocese covers to cost of the move, up to a negotiated amount.  

Continue praying for your new Incumbent (and family) and for your parish as you both prepare for this new journey together. Once the new Incumbent has arrived and settled in, the Bishop’s Office will begin coordinating a service for the Celebration of New Ministry.

 

Additional Resources:

 

[1] Unless permission is given by the Bishop’s Office, the work of the PAC does not begin until the Incumbent has finished in their role.
[2] This in accordance with Canon Seven 2(3).
[3] If the parish is experiencing financial hardship, funding support can be made available through the Synod Office.