Church choir's video demands 'fun' new vicar

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A church desperate to recruit a new vicar has come up with an eye-catching way to advertise the vacancy.

The junior choir at St Paul's in Shipley has created a musical advert for the post, featuring their own set of criteria.

The junior choir at St Paul's, Shipley

The junior choir at St Paul's, Shipley

The youngsters' ideal candidate must be able to laugh, smile and enjoy reading Harry Potter books - while avoiding lengthy sermons and focusing on planning church trips.

Churchwardens have also advertised the job in the Church Times and through Diocese of Leeds channels - but the choir's video has been viewed nearly 20,000 times on Facebook.

The song begins:

“If you want this choice position have a cheery disposition. Make us laugh, smile lots, play games, tell jokes.

“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!

“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.”

The video has even attracted support from Gogglebox star the Reverend Kate Bottley, who oversees three churches in rural Nottinghamshire and commented that parishes needed to 'up their game' when reaching out to new recruits.

Nationally, the Church of England has experienced recruitment struggles, with many parish vacancies unfilled.

St Paul's director of music Rachel Hesselwood came up with the idea, but asked the 20 choristers to help create the lyrics.

“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 and fit the music. I then wrote the lyrics and on Thursday the children learned 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 post is part-time. Bishop of Bradford Toby Howarth said:

"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."

To apply visit http://www.leeds.anglican.org/vacancies/vicar-st-paul-shipley-part-time

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