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Advice for new curates: wisdom for the single and the over-protective

17 July 2015


From the Revd Freda Beveridge

Sir, — The otherwise excellent article “Don’t say yes to everything” (Petertide Ordinations, 10 July) left me with a disturbing question. Were there no single people among those ordained at Petertide? I had to reread the article very carefully to find any acknowledgement of their existence. Single people are not still “husband or wife, Mum or Dad” (Section 1). They are still friend, aunt, uncle. To engage with an article giving advice, one needs to identify with it from the outset.

It is not only those with working spouses who have to plan time off well in advance. If single people want companionship on their day off, they, too, have to plan ahead with friends or family and, since it is very likely they do not live near, the logistics can be more complicated.

Everyone, whatever their role in life, needs someone or some people with whom they can let off steam about those with whom and among whom they work. For people in ministry, the options are more limited than for those in other occupations. For single clergy, it is even more difficult than for those who are married; and yet the article did not acknowledge that.

I myself had an arrangement with two single friends (one clergy, one lay, working for the Church) that we could or should ring each other when we felt the need, but the tendency was not to lance the boil until it had grown large.


27 New Road, Chiseldon
Swindon SN4 0LX


From the Revd Jane Banister

Sir, — May I urge all those newly ordained to keep the Revd Dr Joanna Collicutt McGrath’s words (Petertide Ordinations, 10 July) close to their hearts? She has captured exactly the balance that is needed in the first years of ministry — and beyond.

Sadly, Matthew Caminer’s words are all about protecting yourself. Take no appointments between 5 and 7 p.m.? Ever? So, who does see the person in need then?

I am a priest, but am also a child of the vicarage and a clergy spouse, and one thing I know for sure is that whatever you give you receive back a hundredfold.

We need priests whose first words are not to tell us what their days off are and what they will not do. Our parishes look after — and pay for — us. The least we can do is look after them.


The Rectory, 2 The Limes
Station Road
Tring HP23 5NW

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