being · Church of England · ontological · Parish · training · vicarage life

The art of being

I have been a Curate now for a year. Well I suppose it is only 10 months since I was actually ordained Deacon, but I started my Curacy in July 07 so I make that a year, no matter when Salisbury Diocese actually got around to doing the deed.

The life of a curate is, it has to be said an odd affair. You are neither one thing or the other. People refer to you as ‘Vicar’ or even sometimes ‘Father’ yet you are still a trainee in most respects.

You do funerals and weddings and lots of other things that people automatically expect you will be able to do, regardless as to whether or not you have ever done them before. You are in a position of Leadership, but have no power to change things or make decisions. Everything you do needs, in theory at least, be run past your trainer.

Don’t get me wrong this is not a complaint, just an observation of this very strange ministry.

Now I have been priested I find that there are a whole new range of thing that one is expected to know how to do. Take communion, most of us have been involved in Communion many hundreds of times over the years, yet the actual mechanics can be quite complicated, or at least daunting.

My Bishop has charged us new Priests with learning how to ‘be’. This I think is one of the most important roles a Priest has. Not doing just being. Yet so much goes on in ministry that it is very hard to stop being busy long enough just to be.

Last week I met Kat in town for Breakfast, while we there we saw 4 people from the congregations and also met two new folk as well. This I think is being. I wasn’t doing anything ‘ministerial’ yet, I was given the opportunity to responding pastorally to people I wouldn’t have seen if I had let my busyness stop me going to town.

It seems that ‘being’ is as important as the Bish suggests. I shall have to try it more often – especially if it involves breakfast!


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