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St. Peter's Church, Thorner with Scarcroft
Leeds, United Kingdom
Part of the Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales
Home Page - St Peter's Church, Thorner
Our curate, Bob Bailey, has now been in the benefice for two months and many of you will have met him and his family. You will know what a lovely warm and friendly person he is and how excited he is to be involved in ministry in the benefice. Some of you have asked me practical questions about what is expected of Bob and what he is and isn’t able to do, so I’ll answer as many questions as I can in one fell swoop in this article.

What is Bob’s day off?

Bob has his day off on Friday, and also has a study day on Thursday. As a curate Bob is here to learn how to be a vicar, and to do that he needs to spend time reflecting and reading about the practice that he’s doing on the other days. We decided that it would be useful for Bob to take the same day off as me or we would hardly ever see each other. Please try not to contact Bob on Fridays and don’t ask him to attend events on Fridays too often, as part of learning to be a vicar is learning the importance of times of rest.

What is Bob allowed to do in services?
In the Church of England there are three levels of ordination – deacon, priest (or presbyter) and bishop – literally ‘servant’, ‘leader’ and ‘overseer’. Bob is a deacon at present, and next June he will be ordained priest. Until then he can do all the things a priest can do except bless, absolve and consecrate the bread and wine at communion. He can take baptisms, funerals, morning worship and large parts of the communion service.

The year as a deacon is to remind Bob that even when he is a priest (leader) he is also called to be a servant, something that I and all priests could do well to remember regularly!

What is Andy’s role in this?
As part of Bob’s training I spend at least an hour each week in supervision with Bob; supervision is a time when together we reflect theologically and pastorally on the events of the past week. In secular terms it’s about reflective practice, i.e. doing the job and then reflecting on how it went in order to improve the way we do it in future. This will mean that I am less available, certainly in the near term.

My role is as the training incumbent. I am to show Bob best practice (laugh now!) and walk with him as we reflect on his mistakes and mine, his triumphs and mine. It is a great privilege and a joy to be involved in someone’s ministerial education, but I would add that all the congregation, through our love and guidance, support and thoughtful reflection are walking alongside Bob as he learns.