Early Stages

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					Diocese of Gloucester                             The First Four Years: Early Stages

                                      Early Stages
          The Transition from College/Course to Title Post
Expectations of the Training Partners

As the end of the penultimate year of training approaches, the process of putting
together candidates and potential training parishes begins. Considerable work and
prayer goes into identifying potentially fruitful training relationships, where the candidate
will flourish and receive a good foundation for the years ahead. The detail of the process
whereby this arrangement takes place is set out in the Appendix:Resources, The Curacy
Process: Initial Arrangements.
Once the appointment has been confirmed and announced, preparations for moving,
where relevant, and the ordination and retreat need to be made. Detailed information is
sent to candidates and parishes, following the form set out in the appendix.
Curates and training incumbents should be confident in the training that both parties
have received. This section of the handbook outlines the appropriate expectation of the
training partners at the point of ordination. The new national guidelines for Initial
Ministerial Training helpfully identify an increasing role for the local parish, and other
local and diocesan partners in the training partnership.

The Training Incumbent
In selecting training incumbents the following is looked for. A parish priest who :

1.   Is settled in the parish and will make a commitment to stay for at least two years
     following the ordination to the diaconate, and who undertakes not to take personal
     holiday or other significant leave within the first month of a deacon's ordination.
2.   Is already personally engaged in Continuing Ministerial Education and is willing to
     undertake further training associated with becoming a training incumbent, e.g. the
     Skills of Supervision course, Consultation Days and Peer Supervision for Training
3.   Is possessed of a mature degree of self-awareness and understanding of his/her
          strengths and weaknesses in ministry
          psychological make-up and personality
          ability to make an appropriate relationship with a colleague in training.
4.   Has a genuine desire to be a training incumbent as distinct from merely wanting an
5.   Will establish (if not in place) daily prayer together either in private or public. (This
     is not often practical on a daily basis for NSMs in secular employment – in this case
     alternative arrangements can be made.)
6.   Is prepared to take into consideration a curate's experience in terms of previous
     (or ongoing) employment and responsibilities.
7.   Has ability to be able to help the curate in the process of integrating his/her

Diocese of Gloucester                             The First Four Years: Early Stages

     theological studies with ministerial experience.
8.   Understands the distinction between staff meetings and supervision sessions and
     organises both on a regular basis, at least weekly/monthly.
9.   Has a personal theological and spiritual stance which is creative and flexible and is
         able to articulate his/her own theological position
         ready to work with a curate of a different theological position and spiritual
         able to listen and engage constructively with such differences.
10. Is capable of allowing a curate to develop in ways differing to theirs with regard to:
         the deployment of special gifts of ministry
         specific delegated responsibilities
         being open to styles of mission and pastoral ministry which may be different to
         their own preference.
11. Will give the diocesan IME 4-7 programme a high priority for the curate and
    recognises their sharing of the training responsibility with the Director of Curate
12. Is able to share ministry with a colleague (including sharing difficulties as well as
    successes) and to model a collaborative approach to ministry.
13. Recognises that their parish will not be able to provide all the training needs of the
    curate and that an extended placement in another parish or other setting might be
14. Is willing to release their curate colleague for the study and training required by the
    CME 1-4 programme.
15. Is willing to participate (and take responsibility, where necessary) in the reporting
    processes associated with the new procedures for assessing curacy.
The training incumbent will have attended the Supervision Skills 48 hour residential
training event in May or June prior to the ordination. This, and subsequent training
events, will seek to ensure that the training incumbent is both self aware and familiar
with a range of resources appropriate to the development of a curate. We have now
established a pattern of termly supervisors’ lunches where supervisors, in year groups,
offer one another peer supervision.

The Curate
Just as the training incumbent is expected to offer themselves fully to the training
relationship with a commitment to honesty, collaboration and loyalty, the curate is also
expected to bring their full commitment to this partnership, which must be built on a
mutual commitment of respect. Both partners share responsibility for successful training.
When selected for training, the potential curate was recognised as possessing the
potential for public representative ministry in the Church of England, in either assistant
or oversight (incumbent equivalent) ministry. During initial (pre-ordination) training, this
potential has been developed and further tested, so that by the time of ordination the
candidate is judged to have fulfilled the first stage of the Hind Learning Outcomes.
These learning outcomes follow the nine criteria for identifying candidates for training,
and form the framework for assessment and reporting at all stages of initial ministerial

Diocese of Gloucester                             The First Four Years: Early Stages

training, especially before ordination and again at the end of curacy. (They thus replace
the guidelines from Beginning Public Ministry 1998.)
Detailed exploration of the Learning Outcomes is provided in the Appendix.
Incoming curates and training incumbents should talk carefully through these both
before/at the beginning and regularly throughout the curacy to ensure that they are
effectively delivered. It is particularly valuable to look through these (and the reports
from the training institutions) before the curacy begins to identify both prior learning
and particular learning goals.
When candidates are recommended for training, their vocation is judged to have been
realistic, informed and obedient: realistic, in terms of their character, gifts/skills and
personal context; informed, in terms of their understanding of the role and calling of an
ordained minister in the Church of England; and obedient, in terms of a response to the
call of God. Training incumbents and parishes may reasonably expect that these core
characteristics of vocation abide in the candidate, who will thus be ready to take their
full place in the ministry of the local parish community and engage in the ongoing
formation expected of all ordained ministers, but especially of those in their early years
of ministry.
Expectations of those anticipating a future ministry as incumbents will go beyond those
expecting to have an ongoing role as assistants. These are spelt out in the Learning
Outcomes. All are expected to demonstrate a degree of leadership, and a high
commitment to collaborative ministry.
The Training Parish
The most important criterion in the placement of deacons is the ability of the training
incumbent as an effective supervisor. However not all parishes would be suitable for a
deacon to be trained in. A training parish should:
1.   Be able to offer a wide range of ministerial possibilities.
2.   Be a parish that wants to engage in the training of curates for the future ministry of
     the church and not just see them as extra labour in their parish. This will involve
     realistically recognising that the training needs of the curate will take precedence at
     times over needs in the parish.
3.   Have some sense of vocation as a training parish and thereby be prepared to take
     some of the responsibility for the training of a curate, e.g.
         helping the curate in the transition from lay to ordained status;
         offering a lay perspective in relation to public ministry such as preaching,
         leading worship and the conducting of occasional office (under the new
         assessment procedures for curacy, parish representatives are to be expected
         to contribute to the formal reports on the curacy – this is described later in
         the document);
         enabling the curate to understand areas of work in which lay members have
         special skills and involvement, e.g. the work of the parish treasurer or Sunday
         School teachers;
         engaging in on-going clarification of expectations that the parish has of the
         curate and vice-versa (see 2. above).
4.   Undertake to pay approved expenses of office to the curate, including the costs of
     attendance at IME 4-7 events.

Diocese of Gloucester                               The First Four Years: Early Stages

In addition to the above, training parishes will now need to be ready to be involved in offering
detailed reporting feedback to the curate and diocese as part of their ongoing training and
assessment under the new curacy assessment procedures. These reports are described in
the appendices.

The Diocese
Many prospective curates are well known to the diocese, to the Bishops, Archdeacons,
DDO and training officers. Curates and training incumbents may be confident that
careful thought and prayer has been given to potential training partnerships. They can
reasonably expect the diocese (usually in the person of the DDO) to keep them fully
informed at every stage of the early stages of curacy arrangements, and will be expected,
in return, to keep the DDO informed of any relevant information. We warmly welcome
those from outside the diocese, who will be asked to provide additional information, and
to meet with the Bishop of Tewkesbury prior to confirming an invitation to serving a
title here.
Curates and training incumbents are encouraged to make full use of the advice and
support offered by the DDO and Director of Curate Training both before and after
ordination. The role of the DDO/Director of CME 1-4 is to serve the training and
development needs of both the candidate and the church, and make all possible
arrangements to ensure that this is effectively delivered.
The Bishops and Archdeacons also take a keen interest in the appointment and ongoing
training of curates in Gloucester Diocese. Candidates for ordination will meet with both
bishops before ordination, and will be visited by the archdeacons early in their first year
of ministry.

The Working Agreement
The Working Agreement has become an increasingly important point of reference in
recent years. It needs to be drawn up, albeit in draft form, well before the curacy begins
– and the work done for this necessitates both communication and forward thinking
about how the practicalities of ministry and training are going to be managed, and how
they will form an appropriate element within a healthy work-life balance.
The outline for a working agreement is in the Appendix: Resources. It incorporates the
new guidelines from Ministry Division, and may be used as a guide for both stipendiary
and non stipendiary curacies. Each training partnership (i.e. training incumbent and
curate) will need to adapt and personalise this, according to their local circumstances.
However, the overall aim, which is to deliver the Hind Learning Outcomes within a
sustainable and healthy lifestyle, needs to remain at the heart of whatever arrangement
is made.
In this diocese, we recognise that working agreements for NSM curacies require
particularly careful work, as circumstances of those who are balancing their
commitments to the church with other paid or unpaid commitments in their lives are
both diverse and especially challenging. The NSM officer works closely with the training
partners in developing individually tailored working agreements, following the basic form
of the outline below. Working agreements for stipendiary curates are equally important,
but are developed by the prospective partners and submitted to the DDO for approval.

Diocese of Gloucester                           The First Four Years: Early Stages

Working agreements must be with the DDO (who will pass them on to the Bishop, who
takes a keen interest in them) by the end of April preceding a Petertide ordination. They
should be revised as necessary by the end of the calendar year, and will inevitably be
revised again in preparation for the curate’s ordination to the priesthood. Working
agreements will be the first point of reference in cases of difficulty within the training
partnership, and will be an important part of Episcopal and other review during the

Welcoming and Support
Welcoming a new curate is often an exciting time in a parish’s life. It often proves to be
quite a demanding time for the incumbent (and often incumbent's spouse) in helping a
new colleague and family settle in. Careful planning is needed, for both domestic and
ministerial context. Diocesan support is always available, especially through the
DDO/Director of CME 1-4 or the archdeacons.
A convenient checklist for the parish context is provided in the Appendix: Resources.

Diocese of Gloucester       The First Four Years: Early Stages


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