‘Well,’ said the bishop as I came to the end of a day of grueling interviews, ‘the panels have been asking you lots of questions, is there anything you would like to ask us?’
‘Yes’ I said. ‘If I become your rector what will you do to look after me and support me?’
SILENCE -Nothing- no idea -not a squeak
After a bit of prompting from the rural dean that perhaps someone might like to invite me to supper, one dear old soul piped up, ‘she could come to harvest supper, we always pay for the vicars ticket’. It was a gloriously funny moment as they were so unaware of what they were being asked.
[By the way I didn’t get the job! I think I asked the wrong question. But all you curates out there who are hunting for your post of first responsibility, keep that question handy and all you churchwardens and parish reps who find yourselves looking for a new incumbent work out how you are going to reply.]
This is what would have been lovely to hear.
- Occasionally, we will remember to say thank you.
- We will encourage you and promise never to give you a note from an irritated parishioner just as you are leaving the vestry to lead worship. Neither will we say ‘nice sermon vicar’ at the end of a service unless we can tell you how we are going to act on it and how it is going to change us.
- We know it’s difficult but we will try not to moan too much because we know you will have nothing glorious to write about on your blog and we want the rest of the world to think we are fab here.
- We will tell you that you are doing a good job and we will keep telling you. In fact we are going to keep telling you that you are glorious good news for this place.
- We will remember that you have a family. We will ask you now and again when you last had some quality time with them. We might even surprise you by booking a meal somewhere just for you and your other half. We are sorry that we didn’t think about baby sitters when you really needed them!
- We do know that you are not God-honest! We do know that in a multi parish benefice you cannot be in two places at once
I’m sure you can think of others!