Our Vacancy: So what happens next?

It’s been a busy few weeks at St Mary’s.

On 24 July at an outdoor service attended by around 300 people we celebrated the 16 years of ministry served by Rev Will Gibbs and said our goodbyes over a communal lunch and with speeches. Will and his family have now moved to St Albans, where, on 10 September, he will be inducted into his new role as Canon for Mission and Pastoral Care at the Abbey.

So, what happens next? The answer is both Everything and Nothing.

Everything continues as before. Nothing changes. The technical term for a period between vicars is a “Vacancy” but St Mary’s is anything but vacant. Daily services of Morning Prayer will be held at 9:30am, and Evening Prayer, when possible, at 5pm and of course the church is open daily for prayer and moments of quiet. The midweek Eucharist will still take place every Wednesday at 7:30pm and Sunday services will continue at 8am and 9:30am.

Visiting members of the Clergy, some known to us and some coming to us for the first time, will lead the Sunday and Wednesday Eucharists. The 9.30 Sunday services have continued to take place outside during the summer months but will be back in church from 17 September.

The many teams of volunteers who we rely on in roles as diverse as flower arranging, cleaning, pastoral visiting, bell ringing and churchyard maintenance are continuing generously to offer their time and talents as usual.

The parish office remains open to book the Transept Hall, enquire about baptisms, weddings and funerals, ask for pastoral support and any other questions. The answerphone is checked daily and any messages will definitely be noted and responded to swiftly.

Meanwhile, the Churchwardens, who have legal responsibility for the Parish of St Mary’s, with the support of the Archdeacon of St Albans, are already engaged in the recruitment process for the next Vicar.

This can take between six months and a year and follows a set of steps laid down by the Church of England.  They will take into account the views of the congregation as they advertise, interview and select the next person to lead us in the nine hundred and thirteenth year of St Mary’s long life and beyond.

This is an interesting and exciting time for St Mary’s. Please hold in your prayers everyone who shares the great responsibility for selecting the person who will lead us next.

From The Churchwardens

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