NOT THE VICAR’S LETTER

Dear friends and neighbours,

Vicar’s Letters are supposed to be cheerful. I’m not the Vicar, but have taken over the task of opening each Parish paper with a Letter, and do try to be optimistic. However I have to report that, at the time of writing, we still have no idea who our new Vicar will be.

We have been advertising in the Church Times and on a couple of websites since before Christmas, and hopes were raised when in early June we heard that the Archdeacon of Hertford (who oversees these things) had received two applications for our post. A number of people contributed to the interview process in early July. This involved two people ferrying the candidates around the parishes, and to several meetings, while trying not to let the candidates meet each other. The School played its part, providing a group of Year 6 students to ”grill the Vicar”. Six “volunteers” formed a Bible Study Group, for the candidates to lead. There was an opportunity for the candidates to meet local clergy. In the afternoon they each faced a formal interview. For all concerned it was a very full day, and the Archdeacon asked me to pass on her thanks to all for their contributions.

But at the end of the process, it was not felt that we had met the person (either of them) whom God had called to be our Vicar. Interviews are a two-way process, and it is quite possible that each candidate came to the same conclusion, that this was not the right opportunity for them, either. The concept of “God calling someone” may seem a little quaint these days. Actually the text chosen for the Bible Study was the story of the call of Samuel, and in the course of both Bible Studies, the candidates talked about their own “call” to the Ministry. People do hear “calls”. Sometimes it is through the advice offered by a friend or mentor. Sometimes it is within the consciousness of the individual. It can be a startling experience to become conscious of the next step one has to take.

So now the post of Vicar of the Joint Benefice of South Mymms and Ridge is being re-advertised. We hope and pray that someone responds to our need this time round.

With my best wishes,
William Marsterson, Churchwarden, St. Giles