Our curate has got a very unusual way of diary management. It is so unusual that all that the electronic diary reveals is that there is something on that particular day but nothing else. No time, venue or more importantly what it is about! As you can imagine, there have already been a few no-shows!!!!
I was asked to organise a welcome present for our new curate. Based on my personal experience, I decided on a food parcel from a prestigious company.
One Sunday afternoon, the doorbell rang. We never get any deliveries on a Sunday. I was utterly shocked when the Mhinisteir brought in the food parcel meant for the new curate and their family. It was delivered almost a week earlier than the requested delivery date. Since it was a food parcel, it needed to be stored at the correct temperature. There was hardly any space in our fridge/ freezer! I had no choice but to open the parcel. Just as well the parcel was delivered to the Vicarage instead of the Curate’s house as they hadn’t moved in yet! It would have been lying there decomposing in the sweltering heat!!!!!
I almost hit the roof when I saw the contents inside. There was a horrible looking liquid running over the lovely contents. Some items in the food parcel had burst open. How dare they?
I turned into Margo Leadbetter and sent a very firm email demanding either a full refund or the same to be delivered on the day of my choosing. They went for the latter.
Another year and another new batch of Deacons in the Church of England will be going to their respective parishes to start their 3 year Curacy. They will be known as Curates.
This year, we too are getting a new curate who will be with us for 3 years DV. Sadly not all Curacies are success stories. There is often a breakdown in relationship between the training incumbent and the curate which is very regrettable.
About a year or so ago, there was an article/letter in the Church Times which stated that most breakdowns are caused by Jealousy. Not the curates, rather the training incumbent getting jealous of the Curate’s popularity.
Anyway, Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Ordination service has been postponed as the Bishop MUST lay his/her hands on the Deacons to ordain them. Instead, We will have a welcome service via zoom. Until the Ordination is complete, the curates will be known as PASTORAL WORKERS instead of REVERENDS. Something that some prospective curates are finding difficult – not to be able to use the dog collar just yet!!!
Over the years, something has been bothering me a great deal……
Unfortunately, it came up again after my meeting with a retired clergy and his wife.
When we were in our other parish, I came across a handful of clergy including Curates who spoke about their vocation as a lucrative business. They were home owners and went into great detail to boast about the extra income they get from renting out their houses while they live in Church houses and how THIS was the main reason for them coming into the ministry! Non stipendary female clergy were often the culprits.
I feel sad and angry when I hear this because becoming a clergy is a vocation. It is unlike any other salaried job. The Mhinisteir started from zero and as we get older we realise that we do not have a house for retirement. In any case, we do not have the funds for it!!!! However, we firmly believe that God will provide for us when the time comes.
For this reason, It was a real encouragement meeting this retired Vicar and his wife. They are both young ( early retirement) and very disabled. They have gone through a lot of trials together. They too couldn’t afford to buy a retirement home. However, the Lord has graciously provided them with a roof over their head and they are very content. For all their sufferings they never complained once unlike one of the young clergy we heard of who is unhappy that they don’t get 4G where they live!!!!
As we eagerly await the arrival of a new curate, I thought I’ll write a post on Curates.
It is only in England that I have become familiar with the term Curate. In the Presbyterian church in Scotland, we have no curates. You are just thrown into the deep end!
Over the years, I have gotten to know a few curates. In fact, I have known some of them since they were ordinands! Of course they don’t always remain a Curate. After 3 years or so they are able to look for an incumbent position.
I would describe a Curacy as on the job training.
However, I have observed that the Curates I know lead a cushy life. They don’t seem to have the pressures of an incumbent and for some strange reason they appear to get more holidays than their training incumbent for they are often on holiday especially on Sundays! I am here referring to a full stipendary Curate.
Once I was at Morning/Evening prayer as part of the Thy Kingdom come initiative. The Curate who was to lead the prayers simply didn’t turn up and sadly it was repeated a few times that week!
Could this be a reason for clergy stress? For if as a Curate one is molly coddled, then going into an incumbent post will be a shock to the system.
I also know that breakdown in relationship between the training incumbent and Curate is a very common problem.