Archdeacon's Newsletter for the Parish of Frimley

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The Archdeacon of Surrey's Office Archdeacon's House,
Lime Grove, West Clandon,
Guildford, Surrey, GU4 7UT W 01483212663

Dear Friends

I write to you on the occasion of the retirement of Canon Stuart Thomas as rector of Frimley last Sunday. My short newsletter has two purposes.

First, I wish to express my deep gratitude to both Stuart and Heather for a ministry in both Frimley and the Diocese of Guildford that has been characterised by love, faithfulness and service to both God and his people. Stuart served his whole ministry in the Diocese of Guildford from his curacy at Holy Trinity St Marys Guildford (1987-91) to incumbencies at Churt (1991-94); Ruxley (1994-2014); and Frimley (2014-22). He has also served as an Area Dean, Ecumenical Officer and Canon of our Cathedral. It was a delight to be with you last week as we thanked Stuart and Heather and prayed for them as we sent them into the next chapter-of their lives.

Secondly, I'd value the opportunity to explain to you all what happens now. This newsletter briefly outlines both how the parish will be managed during the vacancy and what the road map for the appointment of Stuart's successor will look like. We aim to be as efficient as possible but it is crucial that we walk through this process as thoroughly as possible - ensuring that each stage is managed as prayerfully and carefully as possible. Please be assured that, working closely with Jonathan Hillman (Area Dean of Surrey Heath), I will do all I can to walk alongside you and support you during this time as together we discern God's choice as the next rector of Frimley

The Venerable Paul Davies
Archdeacon of Surrey

What happens Now?

Who is In Charge during the Vacancy?

Following Stuart's departure, the parish is formally the responsibility of the area dean and churchwardens (legally, the sequestrators). The area dean of Surrey Heath is Jonathan Hillman, Rector of Windlesham.

How does the parish actually function without an Incumbent?

Whilst the area dean will provide oversight and support, Jonathan is a busy incumbent himself and will not be able to be present in the way that a full time rector is. Most of the work, therefore, will be co-ordinated by the vacancy management team who are accountable to the PCC. This will consist of churchwardens, treasurer, administrator and others who share in ministerial and administrative support. It will meet regularly to ensure things continue as normal. For good reason, the area dean will ensure that no significant strategic decisions are taken during the vacancy.

What if I have any questions during this period?

Please speak to Terri, as churchwarden, in the first instance. She will be able to direct you to the right person.

How is our New Rector Chosen?

Who decides on our new Rector?

There are six people who will be on the formal interview panel:
The Patron: The Rector of Ash (The Revd Keith Bristow)
The Bishop of Dorking (The Rt Revd Or Jo Bailey Wells)
The Archdeacon of Surrey (The Venerable Paul Davies)
The Area Dean of Surrey Heath (The Revd Jonathan Hillman)
The Two Parish Representatives (Elected by the PCC)

Will there be consultation?

Yes. The most important work that needs to be done now is the putting together of a parish profile and person specification. This is, in effect, the document that lays out our priorities looking forward and the gifts that we seek in a new leader. The compilation of this document will be done by a small Parish Profile Team but following a process of wide consultation. There will also be an opportunity for the PCC and officers of the parish to meet shortlisted candidates and offer feedback.

How can I help during the Vacancy?

You may be thinking that this information is not for you. This is, however, a time when the prayers and efforts of all the church are important.


Please be faithful in praying for the church during the time of vacancy. The following prayer has been written particularly for the vacancy:

Loving God, you have never let go of our parish in over almost 200 years. Your hand has guided, directed and reassured for all that time, even when many have failed to notice.

As we serve you in this vacancy, open our eyes to all you are doing in our community and our lives, open out hearts to be constant in faith and committed in service, open our arms to welcome whoever you send as our next incumbent.

Bless and guide the one called to serve you and us in the coming years; bless and guide those who will make the decision to appoint them, so that in joy and collaboration we may work together to build your kingdom for the growth of our church fellowship and the blessing of our wider community. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


There will be increasing responsibility on many during this time of vacancy. It is helpful if people continue with their duties as much as possible. If you find that you have some spare time on your hands, then it may be worth asking Terri, your churchwarden, whether there is anything additional that you might be able to do to support them during this time.


Very soon, there will be consultation about your perception of priorities going forward that will feed into the building of a person specification for the new incumbent. Please pray and reflect upon this and pass any ideas to Terri.

What is the Timescale for all of this?

There was typo in the dates in the Archdeacon’s Newsletter. These will be updated as soon as we receive them.

We attempt to be as efficient as possible. We do, however, need to go through a process which is laid down by the Patronage (Benefices) Measure (1986). The dates that have been set are below:

Open Meeting with Archdeacon (to explain process and answer questions)

6 March 2022 St Peter's, Frimley

PCC Vision Session with Mission Enabler (to work on Statement of Needs & Person Spec)

Late March 2022

Final Draft of Parish Profile is completed by (stage at which most of the work is complete)

Mid-April 2022

Section 11 Meeting (profile formally agreed and parish reps chosen)

Enfd of April 2022


Advertise Post (on Pathways website and in Church Times)

6, 13, 20, 27 May 2022 Church Times

Closing date for applications (final date on which applications submitted) 

3 June 2022

Shortlisting (interview panel meets to shortlist candidates)

15 June 2022 at 4:30pm

Interviews (held in Frimley over two consecutive days)

4 & 5 July 2022 on site in Frimley


The Bottom Line ...  So when can we expect to welcome a new Rector?

If all goes to plan and we appoint a suitable candidate, it is usual that there is a period of 3 months between appointment and induction so we would hope to welcome a new rector by October 2022. It must, however, be stressed that the task is to appoint the right person and that patience is required if this takes a little longer than we hope. Occasionally, the panel might feel that the right person is not amongst the applicants who present in the first set of interviews and the decision is made to re-advertise.