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.
At time of posting, our Anniversary Sunday Service is just 42 days away…
All Saints is fast approaching the final months of its year-long celebration. Recently, the parish has enjoyed an outstanding Victorian Tea, a colourful Spiritwear Sunday, a successful Doors Open, and a gorgeous fall Flower Festival. There have been wonderful Sunday visits from former clergy including the Reverends Roney, Davis, Kinghan, Barlow, and Loughrey. The former Trent-Durham Bishop Linda Nicholls celebrated Palm Sunday at All Saints, and Archbishop Colin Johnson made a memorable and meaningful visit on Pentecost Sunday. The parish hall has been furnished with sesquicentennial mugs; All Saints parishioners were featured guests at a Whitby Brass Band concert; and in partnership with the Town of Whitby, All Saints planted a tree in memory of deceased parishioners.
There is still so much more to come in the weeks ahead, but as this ambitious and event-filled year culminates, one wonders : “Where do we go from here? What awaits this parish next year? Or in the next ten years? Or in the next fifty?”
At the inaugural meeting of the 150th planning committee in October 2014, the chairperson remarked that an anniversary year
is not only a chance to honour the early church founders and generations of past members, but also is a way to commit to holding ourselves and future generations in loving accountability with one another. And it’s an opportunity to publicly recognize that it is entirely through God’s grace and faithfulness that we are here.
These words and sentiments have been echoed in the sermons of our Incumbent and the many guest clergy who participated in the anniversary year. We have borne witness in this year to the legacy of 150 years of ministry in this community. But it is not enough to congratulate ourselves for the blessings of the past. The legacy comes with responsibility, a charge to the present-day members and friends of All Saints. Going forward beyond this wonderful year, the church is called upon to commit to being passionately spiritual, transformatively missional, and profoundly engaged in its future as part of the family of God in Whitby.