UG Chaplaincy vacancy management
View and download a PDF version - coming soon
This User Guide provides outline guidance for Chaplaincy Officers to assist them in ‘managing, the affairs of a Chaplaincy during a vacancy. There are few hard and fast rules and much will depend on the resources available locally. In any event, the Archdeacon (or Area Dean) will be able to provide support and assistance through the vacancy period.
This User Guide does not provide information regarding the appointments procedure – you will find this by clicking here [Link to the revised appointments process coming soon].
Two particular matters should be taken into account in all cases:
- A general requirement which applies generally across the Church of England (which of course includes our Diocese) is that there must be no significant changes to the form of worship during the vacancy. It is not a time to be experimenting with different forms of churchmanship, liturgy etc. This will be a matter for consideration by the new chaplain in due course.
- And very importantly, locum chaplains must only be used if they are on a register maintained by the diocese. This is important, to ensure that Locum Chaplains are, for example, properly safeguard checked.
Some general guidance:
The chaplaincy Wardens are responsible for leading the Chaplaincy through the vacancy period. In this respect they will take over the secular responsibilities of the former Chaplain (for example safeguarding). Further, they may be called upon to lead morning/evening worship where no local reader or a locum Chaplain is available (although of course Churchwardens are not permitted to preach).
The duties during a vacancy can be very demanding on Chaplaincy Wardens and it can be very advantageous to identify a subcommittee from the Chaplaincy Council to assist in undertaking the many responsibilities. Such a group would typically comprise:
Members of the Chaplaincy Standing Committee (treasurer and secretary as a minimum).
Other Council members or other co-opted members of the laity with particular skills relevant to the vacancy (who may or may not be elected members of the Council)
Local licenced Readers – who can be invaluable in assisting with the pattern of worship, and advising on related matters.
Local clergy who have a Permission to Officiate – who again can be invaluable in assisting with the pattern of worship, and advising on related matters.
It is useful if the key tasks during the vacancy can be taken on board by individual members of the subcommittee (or indeed others). These would typically include:
Consulting on locum cover with the Archdeacon, who will advise the Bishop on the appointment of a locum. Where possible this should be for as long a time period as is possible. Vacancies take time and to provide for stability and it is best to have a well filled diary of locums.
Taking responsibility for looking after locums, assisting them in settling into the local environment if they have come from afar, assisting them with claiming their expenses and travel (not forgetting the need for locums to be aware of local legal requirements such as in respect of use of any Chaplaincy car).
Taking responsibility for reviewing the Chaplains ‘inventory’ of physical resources (known properly as the ‘terrier’). This is a very useful resource in many respects, from ensuring everything is properly insured to letting the new chaplain know what is available. If possible it should cover everything from the ‘church plate’ to the Chaplaincy house furniture.
Taking responsibility for looking after the Chaplaincy accommodation – including cleaning, redecoration (for the new Chaplain) and checking the fixtures and fittings.
Maintaining good relationships with other religious groups in the area (Christian and others).
And of course, anything else that is important for the local congregation.
The subcommittee should meet as often as is necessary which could be as frequent as weekly during the early stages of the vacancy – whilst matters are ‘settling down’
And don’t forget – the Archdeacon and Area Deans are available to guide and assist you through the process.