St Philip and St James’s church, Grafton Road, Cheltenham, GL50 2DD


A message from Nick regarding future staffing across the team…


I wanted to send round a brief note following meetings with some of our PCCs regarding our vacancies across the team.  As you know, I will continue to be based largely at Pip and Jims but elsewhere one Sunday a month.

At recent meetings that I have had with PCCs across the team we discussed the future shape of staffing across South Cheltenham and the need to fill our three vacancies at St Peter’s, Warden Hill and St Stephen’s.  In those conversations we noted that we have five congregations, a paid allocation of 2.5 clergy and, in recent years, have enjoyed the generous ministry of non-stipendiary clergy.

We explored the possibility of appointing a Team Vicar for St Peter’s, Leckhampton and the Church in Warden Hill on a 75%/25% split.  In broad terms this would involve pastoral oversight of both congregations (shared with Maz Allen at Warden Hill) and being at St Peter’s for three Sundays a month and Warden Hill for one Sunday a month.  There would, of course, need to be ongoing discussions about how this would work in practice.  We also spoke about appointing a non-stipendiary priest at St Stephen’s on a part time basis.

I think that we all realised that is not an ideal staffing arrangement for a benefice serving 20,000 but I sense that most of us believe that this would take us forward as a team and is worth considering further.  We also spoke about the possibility of developing a pioneer role at Warden Hill in the near future to build links with the school, develop a new congregation and to reach out to the many community groups using the halls.

Archdeacon Robert will be coming to our Team Council on 27th January to discuss these ideas further.  His hope is that we can move to an advertisement soon after that meeting.  To this end, I know that all three Churches are beginning to develop parish profiles that will facilitate that process.

More importantly, however, I wanted to ask you to pray for the future shape of our team and those who will come to minister as part of it.  Please may I commend to you two opportunities for this? Firstly, could I suggest that on Sunday 10th January, as we remember the baptism of Christ, we might particularly pray for the team and focus on that in our main Sunday service?  Secondly from 13-17 January Cheltenham Network Church is arranging an opportunity for round the clock prayer in the URC Centre in Warden Hill.  There will be a range of prayer stations available 24 hours a day.  Ashley has invited us all to add to those prayer stations and to use this space as we pray for the team.

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