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Children's wishlist for new Priest-in-Charge

06 June 2014

SHUTTERSTOCK

THE candidate appointed as the next priest-in-charge of a benefice in the Cotswolds will have to possess an intriguing list of characteristics if the appointment is to satisfy the children of two primary schools in the area.

The pupils, aged between four and 11, were asked what attributes they would expect from the new priest at the Coln River Group of parishes, near Cheltenham.

Talents that they came up with included being: good at acting and accents, multilingual, generous, happy, helpful and caring, approachable, and "able to read nice stories and sing good songs". One thought: "She should be a girl," and another, not surprisingly, that the successful candidate should "be religious, and know about religion".

The questions were posed by the Revd Charles Thomas, the Assistant Curate, during visits to Withington C of E Primary School, and Andoversford Primary School.

"We spend quite a bit of time in our schools," Mr Thomas said. "I thought: 'What do the children want? What do they think about whoever the new Priest-in-Charge will be?'

"I included their responses in the parish magazine, so if anyone is researching the job, they could get hold of a copy and see what the children want - and perhaps brush up their CV. It is food for thought for all of us, and particularly for any candidates. I headed my piece: 'Out of the mouths of babes and children . . .' Some of the answers made me smile, but some were incredibly insightful."

Interviews are scheduled for 23 June. Coincidentally, the diocese of Gloucester is conducting a similar survey among parishes and "people in Gloucestershire and beyond" about the qualities that they would like to see in the successor to the current Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Revd Michael Perham, who retires in November.

Parishes have until 7 July to answer two questions: "What would you say are the top two priorities for the next Bishop of Gloucester?"; and "What are the top two things you would want to tell the next Bishop of Gloucester?"

Responses should be sent to: ournewbishop@glosdioc.org.uk; Twitter #newglosbishop; or www.facebook.com/Diocese.of.Gloucester.

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