The Bishop of Leicester has welcomed a revolutionary move to create a team of vicars working together across the 65 churches in Melton’s Framland Deanery.
The new approach was taken because of problems filling priest vacancies in eight of the 12 parishes.
A single interview day was organised at Launde Abbey and candidates invited to apply for as many of the vacant posts as they wanted.
Five new appointments have now been announced and a further two will shortly be made.
The new vicars will work five days of the week in their own parish and spend a further day doing activites elsewhere in the deanery area.
The Bishop of Leicester, The Right Reverend Martyn Snow, backed the innovative approach to rural ministry, commenting: “This is an exciting time in the Diocese of Leicester with a number of new initiatives for young people and ethnic minorities and these new appointments to Melton Mowbray, plus surrounding villages, reaffirms our commitment to rural parish churches.
“I am delighted that we will soon be welcoming five new vicars from different parts of the country and I look forward to exploring with them new ways of enabling our village communities to flourish.”
Framland’s rural dean, Rev Peter Hooper, who has co-ordinated the new approach, said: “I’m completely blown away by the way this recruitment process has gone and I’m excited that we have this new way of working.”
He added: “The people we are bringing in are very active, very energetic priests.
“The archetypal vision of a rural ministry is a vicar taking up the role in the last few years before retirement.
“Rural ministeries have traditionally been isolated but ours will be working together.”