Being in Vacancy

A vacancy is a significant time. It is an opportunity to think prayerfully about the next chapter in the life of the benefice, and we want to support you as you explore who God might be calling to join you for that next chapter.

Appointing a priest incumbent is amongst the most significant decisions that any benefice makes. It is a task shared between parishes, patrons, archdeacons and bishops, with assistance from diocesan support services and, above all, from God. Early on in your vacancy, the archdeacon and/or bishop will meet with your benefice at a Pre-Section 11 meeting. At that meeting you will receive a document outlining the process, the support available, and the dates relevant for your vacancy. As part of the process, you will be pulling together a Benefice Profile that will help candidates see what ministry in your benefice and our diocese might look like for them and whether they might be called to your benefice.

The Benefice Profile has three sections:

  1. Diocesan and deanery statements - these will be supplied to you to make life easier. The diocesan statement can be downloaded from the bottom of this page.
  2. Benefice statement  - a clear and simple statement of what is distincitve about this clergy role, in this particular benefice. The Deanery and Parish Development Adviser can help facilitate the discernment of this part of the profile.
  3. Benefice contextthis contains some details about your context and signposts to places like A Church Near You or your parish or community websites that might have useful information.

Who to contact

Your archdeacon will be in touch to 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 Adviser - Claire Horton 

Taunton Archdeaconry

Archdeacon of Taunton - Simon Hill

Deanery and Parish Development Adviser  -  Rob Walrond

Wells Archdeaconry

Acting Archdeacon of Wells - Charlie Peer

Deanery and Parish Development Adviser - Caroline Bruce


Beloved God,

You have welcomed each one of us in Jesus and called us to be his body in this place.

We give you thanks for all that has been and all that will be.

We ask for your guidance as we work together in this time of vacancy:

Guidance to be a light in our community; 

guidance to love and encourage one another;

and guidance to draw to us the person that is right for us and our community.

In Jesus' name we pray. Amen

Resources to help you through the parish vacancy process

Diocesan Statement for Bath Archdeaconry

Diocesan Statement for Taunton Archdeaconry

Diocesan Statement for Wells Archdeaconry

Guidance on writing role descriptions

Template role descriptions

Interview guidance

Exit Interview template

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

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