They probably give you a hint about the churchmanship of the place ("Bible based preacher" or "Parish Mass" )…and of course, about its geography, both physical and social.
They are keen to outline the qualities they are seeking in a new priest – a paragon that would put each and every member of the heavenly host to shame, if you believe all that you read.
(Interesting aside: I learned recently that when they scan the job ads, most women will only consider applying if they can tick 9 out of 10 boxes on the parish’s wish list, while men are contented with a more pragmatic 5 or 6).
Anyway, let it be known that all parishes want an archangel who is good with children and the elderly, and everyone in between, at ease with both traditional and modern worship, a gifted teacher and preacher with a huge pastoral heart, a capable organiser, a visionary, a born leader who is expert in change management…..and so it goes on. In the light of that, it is remarkable that any church ever finds a new priest at all.
So, you find yourself circling ads because you think that you might be able to work there…sending for further details for all sorts of jobs, both realistic and completely off the radar…hoping and praying that God will make it clear when the right job comes up.
I thought I might have found it when I read this ad – though the reality, after talking to friends in the know, is that I lacked the experience to undertake such a challenging role in a diocese where I have no contacts, where every single aspect of our lives would have changed.
But all the same, here’s a vision statement I would so love to run with. Just listen to this....
- People grow here because they are loved into believing all things are possible in them
- Because we live in a broken community we value each other because of who we are, not what we can do
- We want to reflect the light of Christ who embraces the poor, the destitute and the lonely
- We want the undesirables to come back to the place where they know they are wanted.