On May 14, we welcome our new Assistant Curate, the Reverend Molly Finlay, to our ministry team!
What’s a curate, you ask? And who exactly does she assist? Here’s what our resident “Notes & Queries’ correspondent, Bertie Weatherbottom, told us in the March issue of the parish newsletter:
At our recent Vestry, our parish voted to take on a new member of the clergy—a curate. Those of us who are long of the Anglican tooth may be comfortable with the term, but you may ask, what does “curate” mean? In its most traditional sense, the term refers to a person who is invested with the care or cure (cura) of souls of a parish. In medieval times, a curate could be considered broadly to be what we now know as a parish priest. Fr. Stephen might have been called our parish curate, for example. Many curates in larger parishes also had assistant curates.
As new titles evolved for curates, such as Rector or Vicar and ultimately Incumbent, the term “curate” meaning parish priest disappeared, but the term “assistant curate” did not. Today, in the Anglican communion, “curate” is commonly used to describe clergy who are assistants to the parish priest and who, in their first posting after ordination, are completing their training (not unlike an apprenticeship). As a bit of historical fun, these newly ordained priests continue to be called “assistant curates” even though there is no longer a main “curate” for them to assist! By taking on a curacy, we will be assisting a newly ordained priest as he or she participates in this last step towards a solo parish. Though licensed by the Bishop, this person will be supervised by our own Fr. Stephen.
In our Diocese, assistant curates participate in Momentum, a 2-year program that provides professional development in the context of a supportive peer environment. Sessions are facilitated by experienced clergy. Coincidentally one of the current program facilitators is a former and well-loved All Saints’ assistant curate, the Rev. Canon Paul J. Walker.