Congregations with new incumbents are invited to participate in a two-year cycle of regional Fresh Start gatherings. An introductory or “Intake” session provides congregational leaders with an overview of Fresh Start and focuses on fundamental exit and entrance issues. Other sessions in the cycle deal with such key transition issues as church size and congregational development theory, role clarity, goal-setting strategies, mutual ministry assessment and more. Congregations are encouraged to send as many members of their leadership teams as possible to these gatherings.
Getting a New Priest
In the Diocese of Toronto, a new incumbent is selected by the Parish Selection Committee (PSC), which always works with the area bishop, who is the hiring authority for clergy. In effect, the role of the parish selection committee is to make a recommendation to the area bishop. To this end, the committee works with the area bishop to:
- Develop an effective selection plan.
- Ensure compliance with the diocesan canons and all legislative and human rights policies, and use sound human resources practices.
- Suggest names of candidates for the interview list.
- Ensure all interview procedures and decision are as objective and fair as possible.
- Provide a comprehensive and accurate profile of the parish.
The Parish Selection Committee consists of the two churchwardens and four other lay people, of which at least two must be members of Synod (unless the parish has only one). These four other lay people are elected by the Vestry or Advisory Board. The normal maximum size of a PSC is six, but it may increase to eight in multi-point parishes. The policy governing the Parish Selection Committees is found in Liturgical Standards and Resources under “Clergy Appointments.”
Where do we begin?
- Elect a chairperson.
- Arrange a meeting date with the area bishop.
- Read Canon 10 of the Diocesan Constitution and Canons.
- Request the demographic and benchmark data from your area bishop’s office.
- Read the material in the parish selection committee package (PSC Guide, “Transitions,” by Dr. Walter Deller; and the Human Rights Code of Ontario), which you can download or request a copy from your area bishop’s office.
When a parish wants to advertise a vacancy and wants to go beyond the normal website/The Anglican listing, the committee must discuss it with the area bishop. If a parish wants to cast the net widely, permission must be granted by the area bishop to intentionally carry out a search or advertise the vacancy beyond the diocese. Under no circumstances should a vacancy advertisement be placed without the area bishop’s consent.
Assistance in the form of a skilled volunteer facilitator is available through the Congregational Development department, 416-363-6021 ext. 226 (1-800-668-8932). Your PSC facilitator will be able to help the committee:
- Develop a parish profile with your PSC coach.
- Discern leadership qualities desired in a new incumbent (Competencies for Ordained Ministry).
- Design appropriate interview questions.