posted 21 Jul 2012, 09:43 by Richard Ryder   [ updated 23 Feb 2015, 10:19 ]
We do not want it to happen but it must! David and Edwina will retire on 30th September and we need to make plans for our church beyond that date.

In consultation with our patron the Duke of Richmond and Gordon, the Archdeacon for Chichester, David, my fellow churchwarden Andrew, and the PCC I have already taken some steps to secure a smooth continuation.

Following the departure of a rector, the Church of England, allows for a period of interregnum, when we are expected to reflect upon all that has taken place during David’s ministry, what we have learnt from it and decide how we can move forward in the future. This interregnum lasts several months and during this time we shall not have a priest in residence but instead rely on a number of clergy visiting on an occasional basis. So this is a period when we will have to make a special effort to support one another - something we are particularly good at in Lavant.

We are fortunate that we have a number of retired clergy living in the Chichester area and I have already contacted many who have agreed to take most of the services at 8.00am and 10.00am right through until the end of February next year. Our good friend, the Revd. Geoff Barter will continue to play a supporting role and I expect to fill in the few remaining gaps during the next few weeks.

I have also been able to obtain the services of a number of clergy to maintain the mid-week 10.00am Said Communion although at the moment not every week is covered.

Finding cover for the monthly Matins and Evensong services is proving to be more problematic and it is possible some of these could be suspended during the interregnum.

Looking further into the future, we have drawn up a planned schedule to find a new rector in the shortest possible time frame, consistent with the Church of England regulations.

At the end of August the Archdeacon will “declare a vacancy” and we will place an advert in the Church Times during September. If all goes well we expect to draw up a short list and commence interviewing possible candidates during October. It is expected, subject to a resolution of the PCC, that the interviewing committee will comprise our Patron the Duke of Richmond, The Archdeacon, the two churchwardens and a representative of the PCC.

By November or early December it should be possible to confirm an appointment. However, because the new rector will almost certainly have to serve out a period of notice in the parish where he/she is currently ministering, a further delay can be expected before the person arrives in Lavant. Periods of notice can be up to 3 months.

During the period of the interregnum the administration of Lavant Church will vest with the churchwardens and the Rural Dean with the churchwardens having day-to-day responsibility.

In our church we have many able and caring lay people taking a lead role in organizing and running the numerous church groups, and these will continue as before.

I have tried to set out for you what we may expect until a new rector is appointed, and hopefully allay any apprehensions you may have about the immediate future. Please be assured that both Andrew and I will always try to be on hand should you have concerns that need addressing during the interregnum.

Patrick Madeley