In fact two years three months into curacy I am considerably more autonomous than I was two years ago.  I organise my meetings for Occasional Offices, I do the associated registers and paperwork, I decide when I am taking Home Communion, I choose which events I attend each week, I decide who to visit, who to phone, I am the Ministry Team Rota Fairy (The MTRF decides who does which services).  I am unfazed by terriors (not the canine kind, the inventory kind) and have a more than nodding acquaintance with the Faculty process (which is what one has to go through in order to rearrange the furniture).  I get nods, smiles and hugs as I walk round the village.  The landlady reaches for the glass as I walk through the door (and can spot the signs if I am actually after coffee).  I can identify what each key is for, in the dark (and there are many more than four keys for the four churches).  I know who I can wind up in chapter meetings, and who to be polite to.  I know how to find a grave, what to do if Banns haven’t been called, and where to find a hammer and stake.  I organise my time, set my priorities, and try as hard as I can to support my training incumbent, both as he tries to train me (and any lack is mine, not his) and as he is incumbent of this Benefice.  And I meet with my training incumbent at least weekly to make sure that I am working within his agenda, not against it.  In between times I am involved in the work of the Rural Theology Association, and on the professional doctorate programme of the Centre for Rural Ministry Studies.   

To summarise, I am not bored.  However, I am busy, and I am worried.  If I am this busy, when I have absolutely no responsibility whatsoever, how on earth will I be when the buck stops with me?   Although I note I can dump on God, the Rural Dean, the Archdeacon, the Bishop, the Churchwardens, the Treasurer, and anyone who stands still for long enough.  It seems to me the secret is knowing where to find support!  

Photo lifted from


One response to “CurateBot?

  1. Our Vicar is a past master at getting the sort of support you describe. He can spot an unwilling volunteer, or someone who never knew that they had such wonderful gifts that they are in themselves a gift to the church? Or even a gift horse in the mouth.

    He spots on a regular basis and all sort of unlikely people find themselves taking part, leading, helping, lifting, gardening, cleaning, writing, accounting, maintaining or CRB'ing. He has even persuaded someone who was accidentally drinking a cup of coffee in the coffee shop when he came in (and they couldn't nip away gracefully) to join a working group we are forming for a project. And I know that I will regret it before to long.

    He admits that this is a gift, which he has honed and developed over his 17 year ministry, sharpened in the fire of his curacy in an Anglo Catholic Parish, when he is low and his spouse is on the floor in terms of Churchmanship. Honed in a first incumbency, followed by a University Chaplaincy and now so refined that it's about getting to know people, their gifts and building the relationships necessary to be able to ask them, knowing that they will not be a victim if they won't cope.

    I know that this might be a little strange, but you seem to be well on your way to developing similar gifts – if you are coping so well without responsibility, you will appreciate that to coin a phrase 'we are all in it together' and as an incumbent it's about a shared ministry, not a one-person-band. And I'm sure that their will be gifted laity (or even clergy) who will be waiting to recognise the call that you may give them to a type of ministry or supporting activity that empowers them to enhance the churches mission. Because, in the end, all that you and we are doing is part of that mission.

    So, when you finish your curacy, look to the south, to Kent and Canterbury, could be that you will be my future Vicar.

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