While the wardens at St Paul’s Shipley have gone about advertising for their new vicar in the usual ways – an advert in the Church Times and on the diocesan website - young people at St Paul’s have come up with a more up-to-date way to attract their next incumbent.
Members of the Junior Choir have created their own musical film on Facebook – and the lyrics contain their own set of criteria for the qualities the new vicar requires along with some of the incentives for whoever is appointed.
The song begins, “If you want this choice position have a cheery disposition.
Make us laugh, smile lots, play games, tell jokes.”
More attributes follow: “You must be kind, you must be fair. Bible stories you will share.
Plan parish weekends and retreats, sermons short – and sweet.
Share God’s love with everyone – be energetic; work hard, have fun.
Boy or girl it doesn’t matter – but you must enjoy Harry Potter!”
Throughout the film the boys and girls are shown enjoying themselves in different parts of the church. The second part of the song focuses on the incentives:
“If you will sing and worship with us, show us how to pray and Jesus,
We won’t talk in your sermons, we’ll be good (you’ll see)
We’ll do our very best to tidy up the choir vestry.
Come to Shipley, many thanks sincerely,
St Paul’s Junior Choir.”
In it's first 24 hours on line the film has already had more than 10,000 views and attracted favourable comments. "Brilliant" wrote the Revd Kate Bottley of ITV 'Gogglebox' fame, adding, "I was chatting to a lay chair yesterday who was moaning that they had zero applicants for their job, they need to up their game!"
Rachel Hesselwood, Director of music for children and young people at St. Pauls, came up with the original idea but she says the words were largely the work of the young people. “It was very last minute - two weeks ago at Junior Choir I asked the children to tell me what they thought a vicar should be like. All the suggestions are their own words just slightly changed to rhyme/fit the music. I then wrote the lyrics and on Thursday the children learnt the song, choreographed it themselves in small groups and recorded it - all in our hour's rehearsal! “
The closing date for applications is February 27 and the serious side is that the 0.5 part time post is seen as strategically significant for the parish and wider area. Area Bishop of Bradford, Toby Howarth, says, "St Paul's Shipley is a significant church within the Bradford Episcopal Area and Diocese of Leeds .... We are seeking a person who can develop lay ministry and leadership. This role demands excellent team building skills and the ability to work a ‘mixed economy’ of both new forms of church alongside existing ones." (The full job advert and details can be found here).
The Junior Choir has developed over the past 5 years and now has around 20 members. It normall sings sings at one of the services a month and at special occasions, including Evensongs and concerts. More about the Junior Choir here.. http://stpaulsshipley.org/sunday-services/junior-choir/