What is an interregnum?
When a parish becomes ‘vacant’ (without a parish priest) it is said to be in an ‘interregnum’ which literally means ‘between-reigns.’
Who runs the parish in the interregnum?
Until a new priest arrives the parish is entrusted into the hands of ‘Sequestrators,’ who ensure that services are maintained and that property is cared for during the vacancy. The churchwardens and Area Dean are the usual Sequestrators. During the interregnum churchwardens make sure that no changes are made, so the church can be ‘handed-on’ to the next vicar in the same order it was left.
How long will the interregnum last?
There are set ways of making new appointments in the Church. It is likely that a new priest should be in post in about 9 months time. The churchwardens are presently planning services up until July 2019.
How is a new priest appointed?
The process to appoint a new priest can only begin from the time that the resignation of the previous vicar takes effect. Father Richard’s resignation date is 30 September. Early October the Archdeacon of Cheltenham will meet with the PCC to begin to assess the needs of the parish. The parish will have to complete a ‘Parish Profile.’ This document outlines the present structure and activities of the parish and begins to construct a person specification for a new priest.
How will the interregnum affect ministry of our church?
Father Richard’s departure will obviously have an impact on ministry, but ministry is the job of all baptised Christians, so together members of the church will cover some of the gaps his departure leaves.
What about baptisms, weddings & funerals?
The points of contact are the churchwardens, and other designated members of the congregation. In the first instance please contact the church by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling the church office 01242 570961.
PRAYING DURING THE INTERREGNUM
It is really important that, during this time of interregnum, we pray regularly for our parish. You may wish to use this prayer:
God our Father,
you have welcomed each one of us in Jesus
and called us to be his body in this place.
Send us your Holy Spirit,
at this time of uncertainty and change,
to fill us with vision and energy;
make us faithful in prayer and worship,
that we may be true to our calling
to bring new life to our community.
Guide with your heavenly wisdom
those who are to choose a new priest for our parish,
that the one whom we receive may be a wise
and gentle shepherd of your people:
ready to serve us with joy, to build us up in faith,
and to lead us by example in loving obedience
to your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.