Appointing a vicar - ways to involve children and young people

A Vicar is for everyone, not just the adults! But often it is only the adults in a congregation who are consulted when the appointment process is happening. This section will help you include children and young people in the process so that they can have their say as well.

This process could also be used when appointing a new children/youth worker.

We need a new vicar

The vicar has retired, or moved to take up a new post, and the parish has started the process to appoint a new one. 

The first stage of appointing a new vicar involves discussions in the parish to identify needs and to see what gifts and skills might be required in the new vicar. Don't forget to include children and young people.

Representatives from the parish will then work with an Archdeacon and the Diocesan Vacancy Adviser to:

  • Draw up a parish profile based on the local statement of needs
  • Write and agree a job description and person specification
  • Hold a selection and recruitment process to appoint a new vicar

Why involve children / young people?

  • Because they are part of the church!
  • It offers the opportunity for God to speak through them
  • It values their views and opinions
  • It offers a different and fresh perspective
  • It challenges adult ideas and opinions
  • It promotes dialogue and understanding across generations

Who could be involved?

  • Children/young people connected with the church
  • Students in local a school or college
  • A school council
  • Uniformed groups with links to the church
  • Children/young people from other groups in the  community

What you might need to consider

  • Who will lead the consultation?
  • What would be the best time and venue?
  • If working with a school or group outside of the church, you will need to ask for permission
  • You may require consent to enable children/young people to take part (see separate form)
  • How open will you be to the responses of the children / young people?
  • How will you feedback to the children/young people?
  • Is this a one off, or could you involve children/young people in other aspects of church life?

What might you ask?

Suggested questions for younger children:

  • What do you think a vicar does?
  • What do you think the new vicar should be like?
  • How can the new vicar make church even better for children?
  • How can the new vicar help children to know more about God ?
  • What words would you use to describe the new vicar?

This page can be given to the children (or their parents) to help them understand the process and the part they will play in it.

To help address the questions with this age group, use art, craft, games, play, circle time, conversations etc. There are lots of ideas here.

Suggested questions for young people aged 11 years old and over:

  • What are some of the main issues the new vicar should focus on?
  • How could the new vicar communicate more effectively with the younger generation?
  • How could the new vicar draw more children and young people to church and God?

This page can be given to the young people to help them understand the process and the part they will play in it.

Suggested outline for consultation

Aim to spend about 45 minutes with younger children and an hour with young people.

Start

  • Have some drinks or snacks as the participants arrive
  • Remind the children/young people of what they will be doing
  • Briefly explain the process of appointing a new vicar

Activity 1

  • If possible, display a picture of the vicar who is leaving. Ask the children / young people what they think a vicar does. Ask participants to call out or write things on Post-it notes and stick them around the picture.
  • Comment briefly on how much is expected of a vicar.

Activity 2

  • Depending on the age of the participants, use some of the activities on this page  to explore the suggested questions above. Beans in a Jar  and Teddy Talk would work well with younger children. Diamond ranking or Dotty voting could be used with young people.
  • Come to a concensus as to what are the important things the partcipants want to say about the new vicar.

Activity 3

  • Give participants paper, pens and crayons and allow them time to write or draw anything else they want to say about the new vicar, or what they think s/he ought to know about the parish. Alternatively ask for other comments and record the responses.

Activity 4 (optional)

  • Invite the participants to create a short video which sums up their thoughts from the consultation. This could be shown to the Parish Representatives, or even to the candidates as part of the interview process.

End

  • Thank everyone for taking part. Let them know what will happen to their suggestions and what the next part of the process will be.

You might want to consider involving youth representatives in the interviews.

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