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 Issues | Local Church| Patronage

How does patronage work?

The classic model:
The PCC draws up a parish profile explaining what their parish is like and why only the Angel Gabriel will do as their next Vicar. This is done after consulting the Deanery etc.
The Patrons endeavour to find someone who matches the profile (recognising that Gabriel already has a job).
The candidate visits the parish and both he and the two PCC representatives seek to discern whether it is God’s will that this man be appointed to this parish. At some point the Bishop will also meet the candidate with the same question in mind.
If this is not right, a second person it put forward, and so on.

Variations on a theme:
Very often parishes now prefer to advertise. This casts the net much wider, though it does not ensure you catch tastier fish and some of those caught may be difficult to identify.

Increasingly favoured is the interview system. Following secular models candidates apply, are short-listed and then an interview day takes place. Whilst there are advantages to this system the Trust believes that inevitably the wrong questions are being asked. It is too easy to get into the mindset of asking who has the best credentials, or more likely, who has the best interview technique, rather than is this God’s will.

Very often the Diocese likes to be more involved at every stage. Inevitably this increases substantially the workload of Diocesan staff. It also causes some friction where the parish and the Diocese have different views about what sort of person would be best for the parish. A more recent development is that Rural/Area Dean’s are brought into the interview process.

Because of pastoral re-organization many more parishes now have a Patronage Board, sometimes with a large number of places, rather than a single patron.

Team Ministries were a recent trend though the evidence is that they are now being abandoned in many Dioceses because, on the whole they do not work and their theological justification is defective (any parish can have a leadership team – formal teams tend to be clergy focussed). However, many exist and each will have its own scheme. Mostly there will be a patronage board for the appointment of the Team Rector. Often, but not always, the Board will have a role in the appointment of Team Vicars.

On top of all these things patronage bodies, such as Church Society Trust, are regularly consulted by parishes and individual patrons. We maintain lists of clergy considering a move and also some expertise in the relevant legislation and in how it is often misunderstood or misapplied.

Patrons are also required to be involved in pastoral reorganisations, in the sale of parsonages and other land relating to the benefice.

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