Being in Vacancy

Vacancies are inevitably a time of change and transition and involve significant amounts of work, prayer and thinking, in order to discern the next steps.  This can be an opportunity as well as a challenge. 

Historically, the priest would leave; a long list of questions would be asked of the parish; and a new priest would be found. Today, this is no longer the case.  There are now fewer stipendiary posts available.  In order to best serve our communities across the diocese, deaneries are working on the allocation of those posts in collaboration with their parishes.

What is still essential in a time of vacancy, is for parishes and benefices to consider:

  • who you are and what are the stories that have formed you
  • where you see God at work and how you join in

This will help provide a foundation for your future work and ministry.

The Archdeacons’ Guide and the Vacancy Process at a Glance, available to download at the bottom of the page, tells you about timings and requirements. There are other documents below which will help you, including a Vacancy Claim Form (to reclaim expenses during a period of vacancy).

Who to contact

Your archdeacon will advise on the specifics of your vacancy and there will be support from the Area and Lay Dean, as well as the Deanery and Parish Development Advisers.

Bath Archdeaconry

Archdeacon of Bath - Adrian Youings 

Deanery and Parish Development Advisers - Claire Horton and Sandra O'Shea

Taunton Archdeaconry

Archdeacon of Taunton - Simon Hill

Deanery and Parish Development Adviser - Julia Hill

Wells Archdeaconry

Acting Archdeacon of Wells - Charlie Peer

Deanery and Parish Development Advisers - Caroline Bruce and Rob Walrond

Resources to help you through the parish vacancy process

Vacancy guide

Vacancy process at a glance

Benefice and parish profile writing guide

Benefice and parish profile formatting guide

Guidance on writing role descriptions

Template role descriptions

Interview guidance

Exit Interview template

Sample profile - Twerton

Sample profile - Wivey and the Hills

Community and church survey template

Vacancy Claim Form (for service fee and travel during a vacancy)

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