Minster Office: 0191 565 4066

Archive for July 2013

Vacancy at the Minster – School – Parish Discipleship Development Officer

Vacancy at the Minster - School – Parish Discipleship Development Officer

The Church of England

Wearmouth Deanery

School – Parish Discipleship Development Officer

 An opportunity to lead a Deanery project creating sustainable opportunities for young people in school years 5-8 in church schools and parishes to grow in faith


The Chadwick Report ‘The Church School of the Future Review’ reaffirms that Church Schools stand at the centre of the Church of England’s mission, and Durham Diocese is clear that children and young people are essential to ‘growing the kingdom’.   Church Schools, with parishes, are partners in the call to work towards every child and young person having a life-enhancing encounter with the Christian faith and the person of Jesus Christ.  The journey of faith that begins in a church primary school can also end there if young people are not linked to the community of faith outside school.  In church secondary schools,  year 7 includes those who have already started on a journey, those for whom faith is a curiosity and those for whom faith is a closed book.  Within school fantastic opportunities are available through every aspect of school life for a life enhancing encounter with Christ, but this is not always readily supported beyond the school gates by churches and congregations, many of whom are aging or have small numbers of children and young people in their regular worshipping communities.  And in the parish context, there continue to be relatively small  numbers of children who have life-enhancing encounters with the Christian faith, and, while there is an aspiration for growth in this area, this is not rooted in an active partnership between the whole congregation, the parish and the school.

The primary aim of this project is to develop fresh ways of supporting young people to sustain and develop their faith beyond the school context.   To do this we will work with church schools and parishes to foster a sense that this is a shared enterprise, and look for sustained ways of supporting young people outside the school context.  While the work is rooted in the church school context,   the emphasis will be on working with school years 5 to 8, providing opportunities for young people to grow in confident discipleship

–          within their current school- parish context

–          through the transition to a new secondary school (whether a church school or not)

–          within the parish setting (working with young people from a range of school contexts)

–          enabling young people to move freely from the school worship context into the wider community

–          linking young people (and leaders) to the wider Christian community in the city and the diocese.

For the first year, the project will focus on the Silksworth- Ryhope-Doxford cluster of parishes, and the Deanery schools in that area (Benedict Biscop CE Primary Academy; St Paul’s CE Primary School, and Venerable Bede CE Secondary Academy).  We anticipate that in year 2 the project will extend to include the new Northern Saints CE school  and the North Wearside Team parishes and other partners, and by year 3 we will focus on school/parish links more broadly across the Deanery. During the whole project period we will look for ways to share good practice across the Deanery and diocese, working with the Diocesan Children’s Adviser, Sharon Pritchard to facilitate this.

The project will recruit, train and develop volunteers to lead collective worship and other activities in schools and work with young people in parishes.  It will also provide strong links to Christian youth and children’s work across the deanery, and seek opportunities for working together.  To do this we propose to appoint a school-parish ‘Discipleship Development Officer’ to work closely with an enabling group drawn from the initial partner parishes and schools and the wider Deanery.

Over the life of the project we will seek to work with St John’s College/Cranmer Hall to root the project in theological reflection and systematic evaluation.

Job description

To work within a defined group of schools and parishes to enable young people (school years 5-8) to enhance, sustain and develop lively, confident Christian discipleship.

  1. Support church schools and parishes to find creative ways of ‘bridging the gap’ between aging congregations and children/young people in church
  2. Work with the Deanery to develop training and support for those working with young people
  3. Work with schools and parishes to encourage and equip more people to deliver collective worship and appropriate curricular and extra curricular support in schools
  4. Build on and disseminate existing  excellent practice in Deanery parishes and schools
  5. Attend parish activities on Sundays and participate in their Sunday ministry when requested
  6. Work in partnership and alongside key people in the Wearmouth area who are already working to develop youth ministry and build unity – including other denominations of the Christian faith and Wearside Youth for Christ.
  7. Work with the enabling group to underpin and develop the project through robust theological reflection and evaluation.
  8. Assist the enabling group in securing sustainable outcomes for schools, parishes and the project.

Person Specification

The person we are seeking will:

  • Be a member of a church and congregation affiliated to Churches together in Britain and Ireland
  • Demonstrate a love for young people and a natural ability to relate to those in school years 5-8 well.
  • Have experience of leading a growing ministry with young people (school years 5-8) in a Church.
  • Have experience of linking with and working alongside primary and/or secondary schools
  • Demonstrate successful experience of working in a team.
  • Be able to relate easily and positively to people in differing contexts, and have a mature approach to debate and disagreement.
  • Be able to inspire and motivate volunteers.
  • Be able to teach and train others.
  • Demonstrate good organisational, communication and presentation skills.
  • Have a current driving licence and use of a car for employment related purposes
  • Hold a current clean DBS certificate

Preference may be given to applicants who have:

  • Experience of working in the Church of England.
  • An up to date knowledge of useful resources for ministry in this area.
  • Experience of project work

 Outline of Terms and conditions

  1. Period of contract – 3 years. The contract would then be renewed annually, depending on available funds.
  2. 30 hours a week, working flexibly and including a maximum of two Sunday sessions a month (a session is morning, afternoon or evening); term time only (45/52 weeks including holidays)
  3. Pay £25,000 pro rata
  4. Employer – Sunderland Minster (on behalf of Wearmouth Deanery).
  5. Line Management – to be confirmed.  You will also report to an enabling group on a regular basis.
  6. Work related travel costs will be paid, including mileage at the Diocesan rate (currently 45p per mile), up to a maximum of £1,000 per annum.
  7. Holidays – 4 weeks, plus bank holidays or days in lieu, pro rata (holidays will generally be taken during the school holiday period).
  8. Starting date –to be confirmed
  9. Reviews – initially this will be after 1, 3 & then 6 months , and then annually.
  10. Notice of termination – 4 weeks by either party.
  11. Pension – a stakeholder pension will be provided (to be confirmed)

Please complete the application form in full.  You will be asked to provide three references, one of whom should be a minster or leader in your worshipping community and one of whom must be your current or most recent employer.  Forms must be returned to Sunderland Minster, either by post/hand or email  admin@sunderlandminster.org

For an informal conversation about the post please contact Canon Sheila Bamber at Sunderland Minster in the first instance. The office number is 0191 565 4066 and mobile is 07989 542 565 or email canonprovost@sunderlandminster.org

Closing date for applications 5th August 2013

Interviews will be held on 5th September 2013

Application Form School-Parish Discipleship Development Officer

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