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View from the Vicarage

December 2015

David Druitt writes:

In the article that appeared in the October magazine, I said that further updates on the progress of replacing the Vicar & Lecturer would be given and there has been some, albeit slow, progress made in the last two months.

A meeting of the PCC and the Lectureship Trust was held with Bishop Roger, the Bishop of Colchester, and with the Archdeacon and the Rural Dean on the 1st October and whilst limited progress was made at the meeting itself, the way ahead was clearer.

Shortly after the meeting, the Harwich Deanery, of which Dedham is a part, published its long awaited Deanery Plan and this took into account the vastly reducing number of stipendiary clergy within the Church of England and the need for Parishes to work together to mitigate the effects of this.

As a result of the Plan being published, the Lectureship Trust subsequently received a letter from the Diocesan Bishop, the Bishop of Chelmsford, informing us that he had decided to "suspend the rights of presentation" of the Trust in its role as Patron.

This suspension, which can only happen on the back of the pastoral re-organisation within the Deanery, lasts for a period of up to five years and means that the responsibility for appointing a Priest-in-Charge, rather than a Vicar, rests with the Diocesan Bishop, although we have been assured on a number of occasions that this would not be done without consultation with, and the agreement of, the Trust and the PCC.

The Plan proposed that there should be two stipendiary clergy allocated to the Parishes of Lawford, Dedham, Ardleigh and The Bromleys. Our Deanery Synod representative, Brian Moore, attended a Deanery meeting soon after the Plan was published and provided an initial response to the proposal and following this, in early November, there was a meeting of the PCC and a representative of the Trust with the Archdeacon.

At that meeting two options for the allocation of the two stipendiary clergy mentioned above were discussed and the Archdeacon is going to talk to the other Parishes concerned before any final decisions are taken.

Whilst it might appear that only limited progress has been made in the last two-three months, we are far further ahead than we were in late September and the Trust and the PCC are determined to ensure that the best solution both for the Parishioners of Dedham and for those of neighbouring Parishes is found, taking into account the difficulties currently being experienced by the Church of England.

In so far as the Trust will take a back seat role from here on in, it is appropri-ate that any future updates on the pro-gress of finding a new Priest-in-Charge come from the Churchwardens or the PCC. In the meantime however please do not hesitate to contact either myself or either of the Churchwardens, Richard Hopkins and Quinlan Terry, if there are any matters relating to this topic that you would like to discuss.
David Druitt – Chairman, The Lectureship Trust

The Vicar
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