On Saturday 11th September, I had the privilege of attending Moji’s Ordination as Deacon at Chelmsford Cathedral. Despite some Covid restrictions still being in place it was a wonderful service, filled with joy and hope.
Moji now begins her ministry in this Benefice as a self-supporting curate. She will be serving with us during weekends and school holidays whilst she continues living and working in London during the week and Max will continue his ministry among us, just as before.
People often ask me what the difference is between a Deacon, a Priest and a Curate. And, I have to admit, it is all a bit complicated and confusing.
When someone is accepted for ordination in the Church of England, they begin their training at a theological college. This is known as I.M.E.1, (Initial Ministerial Training 1). After this they are usually ordained Deacon and placed in a parish context to complete their training ‘on the job’ as it were! This is I.M.E. 2, (Initial Ministerial Training 2).
‘Deacons are ordained so that the people of God may be better equipped to make Christ known. Theirs is a life of visible self-giving. Christ is the pattern of their calling and their commission; as he washed the feet of his disciples, so they must wash the feet of others.’ Common Worship: The Ordination Service
In the Deacons’ Ordination service the Bishop says the following words.
‘Deacons are called to work with the Bishop and the priests with whom they serve as heralds of Christ’s kingdom. They are to proclaim the gospel in word and deed, as agents of God’s purposes of love. They are to serve the community in which they are set, bringing to the Church the needs and hopes of all the people. They are to work with their fellow members in searching out the poor and weak, the sick and lonely and those who are oppressed and powerless, reaching into the forgotten corners of the world, that the love of God may be made visible.
Deacons share in the pastoral ministry of the Church and in leading God’s people in worship. They preach the word and bring the needs of the world before the Church in intercession. They accompany those searching for faith and bring them to baptism. They assist in administering the sacraments; they distribute communion and minister to the sick and housebound.
Deacons are to seek nourishment from the Scriptures; they are to study them with God’s people, that the whole Church may be equipped to live out the gospel in the world. They are to be faithful in prayer, expectant and watchful for the signs of God’s presence, as he reveals his kingdom among us.’ Common Worship: The Ordination Service
Completion of the period of training as a Deacon usually ends with the person being ordained as a Priest, although there is the option to remain a permanent Deacon. The usual process, however, is that someone remains a Deacon for a year or two as they work to fulfil training requirements and they are then ordained Priest, and remain in the same parish, as a Priest to complete the rest of their I.M.E. 2 training. It is when someone is ordained Priest that they are able to preside at Holy Communion.
The I.M.E. 2 training time in a parish after ordination when someone is ordained Deacon and, later on, Priest, is usually referred to as curacy, and is a vital time in which newly ordained ministers continue to learn and grow in the roles to which God has called them. However, the word ‘curate’ actually means a person who is invested with the care or cure (cura) of souls so, in this sense, all ordained clergy are curates.
So, as Moji begins her year as Deacon in this Benefice, please do continue to pray for her and support her in her training. Moji has written a little bit about herself which you can find this later on in the magazine, alongside some photos of her ordination.
I look forward to seeing you soon.
As ever, please be assured of my prayers for you all.
Take care and God bless,