Who is the vacancy team?

Stuart Cathcart, Jonathan Dean, Pam Lyall, Steve McLeister, Robin Nelson, Claire Oommen, Kathryn Poolman, Lincoln Rozelle & Glenda Wintour. They were elected to serve on the VT at the church meeting on 23 September 2020. (Originally Wes Jamison was on the VT but when he stood down as an Elder, Steve McLeister came on board in his place.) We are rotating the role of chair person within the group – the current chair is Jonathan Dean.

We’d like to encourage you to pray for us as well as share your thoughts, comments and wisdom by getting in touch with us either by emailing an individual or by using the email [email protected].

What is their remit?

The vacancy team was appointed by the Elders to prayerfully consider the leadership at Central since Karl Martin’s departure in Autumn 2019. The Elders have agreed that our stated vision – loving Edinburgh, being family, following Jesus –  is right for us at this time, and that Central should continue to be a missional Church. The Vacancy Team has decided that in order to continue our vision to be a missional Church we are now seeking a full time Senior Pastor(s).

The Elder’s and Vacancy team want to keep the present team empowered to keep bringing their best, as they have done over the last year in responding to the needs and opportunities that COVID19 has presented.

This is first and foremost a spiritual decision, led by God and involves a process of discernment that a ‘normal’ recruitment process may not have. The VT would really appreciate that you continue to pray for and with them throughout.

When did they start meeting together as a VT?

The Vacancy Team met  twice prior to April 2021 when the Elders provided their guidance for the process and has met at least monthly since then.

How often have they now met?

They first met in February 2021 for prayer and to study Ephesians 4:11-13 together. Since then they have met at least monthly (22 March, 26 April, 24 May, 28 June, 12 July, 16th August, 2nd September) and have met as smaller subgroups additionally. They also had an additional meeting for prayer and discernment on 14th June. They are currently meeting every few weeks but meet separately as subgroups and will continue to meet as regularly as needed.

What is the process that the VT are going to go through?

The VT are working on the Job Profile and Church Profile (leaning heavily on what has been used previously). They are in contact with the current Mission & Ministry Advisor of the BU of Scotland, have already spoken with some members of the last Vacancy Team and also some folk involved in Christian leadership. Once these are finalised, they hope to begin advertising the position from mid-September with a closing date set for mid-October. During this period, they will be reviewing the application of each candidate they receive, and they plan to complete their initial review of any applications within 2 – 4 weeks from submission. At that point they will communicate with candidates and let them know what the next steps may be such as a formal interview and meetings with members of the staff team, Elders, and vacancy team. This will happen in the months following the closing date. Once they have identified a suitable candidate to stand as sole nominee, they will invite them to preach and call a Church meeting to affirm (or not) the call.

What is the timeline for the appointment of a new Senior Leader?

Since starting in Spring 2021, they very much want to do the process well rather than just quickly and are at the present time working on the Job Profile and Church Profile. Once these are finalised, they hope to begin advertising the position from mid-September 2021 with a closing date set for mid-October. There will then be a review period before a sole nominee is brought to the Church.

And how often will matters be brought to the church meeting?

They would intend to update the Church at the Church meetings as well as through regular input in Central Weekly.

What about the existing Senior Leadership Team? Do we need to look any further?

We are fully in agreement as a VT that the SLT have done an incredible  job over the Coronavirus pandemic and before that time – in the pastoral approach that has been taken, in adapting and running the gatherings online and in person as well as launching and pioneering significant new ministries and services in response to the pandemic. It is, of course, a time of great uncertainty and  the Elders and others in the Church are supporting the whole staff team through this. We want to go through a thorough process, and part of this thorough process is opening up to external candidates. We shall invite applications from both internal and external candidates who will be treated in the same way.

How are we going to communicate with the staff team?

It was agreed by the VT that it would be important to let the staff team know in advance about any major decisions or recommendations that the VT make or put to the church meeting. Some of the VT will meet with the whole staff team to express this. They will discuss matters with the staff team on the basis that it is a confidential discussion and will likely be shared with the wider church family very soon thereafter – but there will also be certain matters that it is important that the staff team understand are being shared with them on a strictly confidential basis.

Do we have to employ a Baptist minister?

Most of those who are engaged as pastors of Baptist churches are accredited by the Baptist Union – but by no means all. We very much want the right person(s) to be selected and wish to cast our net quite wide.

What about diversity?

We are very open to employing someone with a diverse background and will ask  the Board of Reference on Racial Matters to have a look at the job profile with the diversity angle very much in mind.

Updated 03-Sept-2021