clergy jobs - truth revealed

On the blog scene this week, The Vernacular Curate produces a gem on the subject of the jobs pages in the Church Times. I've long been a connaisseur of the genre, and I thoroughly enjoyed the way he nails the subliminal messages, both intentional and unintentional. Do have a read. My only complaint is that he missed out two of my personal favourites:

"a person of stamina" : Don't expect to have a life outside the church. We've already finished off two vicars in the last five years.

"with a sense of humour" : You'll need it.

My heart goes out to all curates seeking their first permanent post, a process made more stressful by the fact that most Dioceses leave you to sink or swim at this stage, in contrast to the enormous care that goes into placing curates at the start of their titles. Further to David's analysis, Always Hope offers this guide to the commonly spotted types in the jobs pages of the CT:

The over-professional.
Identification: Significant use of colour. Snappy mission statement. Heavy use of leadership jargon to intimidate candidates.
Verdict: Good for the right person if you like a challenge and can take some hits. Otherwise avoid, to spare you some distress.

The up-beat.
Identification: Spattered with words like "excited", "keen", "willing", etc. Likely to have just come out of a long and sleepy incumbency.
Verdict: Very promising. Expect an extended honeymoon period (but remember it doesn't last for ever).

The despondent.
Identification: Advert of minimal detail with no effort to make it sound attractive. Because they don't really care any more.
Verdict: Anyone with a desire to change things need not apply. Avoid unless you have unbounded stores of inner optimism.

The unrealistic.
Identification: multiple conflicting demands, eg. "a person of contemplative spirituality who will provide dynamic leadership, be committed to regular pastoral visiting, engage with local communities, and be a profound preacher and teacher".
Verdict: Exhilarating at first but you'll be moving on, exhausted, after five years. Don't say I didn't warn you.

The specific.
Identification: Use of code words to identify the "right kind" of parish to those in the know. Examples include inclusive, orthodox, conservative, liberal, biblical.
Verdict: If that's your cup of tea then go for it. But don't expect paradise. They're only human.

The downright odd.
Identification: Eccentric design. Meaningless phrases. Amusing slogans with vaguely worrying implications. Anything intended to catch the attention that ends up looking weird.
Verdict: your guess is as good as mine.

The pearl of great price.
Identification: Rare, but look out for anything which says that they will cherish, care for, value or love their new minister.
Verdict: You don't need me to spell it out, do you?


Unknown said…
A cracking post; thank you! As expected, this has proved to be a splended romp through the genre - though I sense a gap and one that I too am unable to fill ...

...those ads that funk-up names of saints (Pip 'n Jim, Old Barnies, Mary Mags, Slap n Tickle etc ...
Anonymous said…
I am going to make sure that our ad for a new vicar (next Feb)is going to have the pearl of great price on it and nothing else! I will make sure that our folks mean it too!

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