THE diocese of Liverpool is set to make what it calls a “radical” shift in its curacy training. In response to feedback from its current curates and training incumbents, it is preparing to pilot a shorter, “more flexible” programme, to be launched in Wigan later this year.
“We are keen to share the responsibility of training more fairly and logically,” the diocese’s learning manager, responsible for curacy development, Suzanne Matthews, said. “Expecting one training incumbent to provide the majority share of all the information, experience, and time required for an individual curate seems a relatively unreasonable [amount of] stress.”
Curates will, therefore, be assigned to communities where their skills and previous experience can best be used. A local “co-ordinator” and several ministers will be able to oversee their progress.
Reflection, coaching, and group work are also to play a part. “We want to train people who have the skills to be the leaders of the future, not simply to be second-in-command curates,” Ms Matthews said. “This an exciting time for anybody to be beginning their ordained ministry, where the challenges and potential are equally significant.”
The Bishop of Warrington, the Rt Revd Richard Blackburn, has welcomed the move. “Over the years, I have seen the training needs of our curates change dramatically, and the demands and skills needed for modern ministry have evolved,” he said this week. “I am delighted that we will develop a flexible model and varied training experience which will produce more rounded curates.”
The diocese plans to expand the programme next year.