Write, if you have any answers to the questions listed at the
end of this section, or would like to add to the answers below.
Whose responsibility is it to ensure that newly ordained
priests can read (if not sing) church services clearly, correctly,
and audibly, and carry out the manual actions at holy
It has always been the intention of theological colleges and
similar pre-ordination courses to prepare ordinands adequately for
ministry, in which conduct of public worship will be paramount.
For this purpose, there has been an established tradition of
responsibility to provide training in voice production and
singing, often with help from visiting lecturers to give tuition.
This important and necessary responsibility should be maintained
at all costs, in order that the newly ordained will have
competence and confidence in the skill of public reading and
speaking, and, if possible, in singing appropriate parts of the
Church's service with tuneful voice.
Responsibility for instruction in celebrating the eucharist is a
different matter, and best done after ordination to the diaconate.
Although liturgical practice is sometimes included in Initial
Continuing Ministerial Education programmes, the ideal person to
give this training should be a curate's incumbent. Directions about
liturgical style, gestures in the service, and particularly the
customary manual acts in the Eucharistic Prayer ought to conform to
local tradition, to which a curate's loyalty can be expected: this
approach helps to maintain uniform practice in the parish.
(Canon) Terry Palmer
This sounds a simple question, but, in my experience as a
training incumbent in two dioceses, it is exactly the
First, while it is true that more people can sing than believe
that they can, it is not true that all priests can sing. The
experience of some ordinands at my theological college, where
singing was mandatory, showed me very clearly the misery that can
be inflicted on those forced to sing against their natural will,
skill, or inclination. So, let us satisfy ourselves with the matter
of saying the service clearly and audibly, and making the
appropriate manual actions.
In an ideal world, this training would begin at theological
college, and be continued/completed during the ministerial training
(IME) offered to all first-year curates preparing for priesting.
Theological colleges of a more Catholic persuasion care very
deeply about liturgical preparation for priestly ministry. There
seems, however, to be far less emphasis on this area of clerical
responsibility in colleges that take an Evangelical approach.
Then, when curates come under the care of diocesan training
departments, the churchmanship dilemma continues. How is the
training for priesthood to be managed when some parishes will
expect manual actions during the eucharist, and others abhor
I believe, therefore, that it is the responsibility of the
training incumbent to train the curate in two ways: the Catholic
style, with its formality and ceremonial, in order that the curate
can confidently minister wherever he or she is called; and the
style that is appropriate to the curate's current parish.
Of course, the diocesan choice of training incumbents is a whole
(The Revd) Alex Russell
Is it really a good idea to take five weeks of Gospel
readings to cover the single chapter of John 6? And what about the
chapters of St Mark's Gospel that we are missing while we read that
one chapter from St John?
Address for answers and more questions: Out of the Question,
Church Times, 3rd floor, Invicta House, 108-114 Golden Lane, London