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November SCAN Newsletter

posted 22 Oct 2012, 12:46 by Andrew Marriott   [ updated 22 Oct 2012, 12:50 ]

A Curate Arrives

Something new has been seen moving around Scan Parish lately. Often it is seen at weekends, especially on a Sunday, but it has also been known to pop up during the week. Occasionally it wears strange clothes, and is often seen with a white collar round its neck. I refer to the arrival of a new curate for Scan Parish, namely myself, Tim Dawson.

Not to be confused with a curate’s egg, a curate is a person invested with the cure of souls of a parish. Now before you all rush over seeking to get your soul (not sole) cured, I should add that the term cure of souls comes from the Latin cura animarum, an archaic translation which is better rendered today as "care of souls." Traditionally, this is the exercise by a priest of his office. This typically embraced instruction, by sermons and admonitions, and administration of sacraments, to the congregation over which they have authority from the church.

In the modern Church of England Church, a curate is someone starting out on their ordained ministry as an assistant to the local Rector or Vicar. It is a training and formational post, so that the curate may in due course become a vicar or Parish Priest of their own Parish (this is also known as an incumbency). There are also self- supporting ministers (SSM’s) who work part-time and are not paid by the church. We are fortunate in Scan Parish to have Revd. Pam Fielding with us who is an SSM.

The Church of England (like the Roman Catholic Church and others), has three ‘Orders’ of Ordained Ministry: Bishops who normally lead a diocese, priests who normally take responsibility for a parish, and are then called Vicars or Rectors, and deacons such as myself.

A curate normally serves three or four years in their first training Parish. In their first year they are ordained and serve as a Deacon, and after a year they are ordained again as a Priest. After three or four years a curate then normally looks to take on their own Parish.

So I am just starting out as a newly ordained Deacon. I was ordained in a wonderful ceremony in Oxford Cathedral at the end of June 2012.. My Curacy is a little unusual. As well as serving the people of Scan Parish, I am also a Deanery Curate, which means I serve the Deanery, which is a group of Parishes from Olney to Hanslope. During my time as a curate, I will be trained by the Revd. Mandy Marriott, Vicar of Scan Parish.

I grew up in a small hamlet at the foot of the Chiltern Hills on the Beds / Herts borders. I love rural life and over the years have kept many animals, including dogs cats, ducks and geese, ferrets, guinea pigs, and chickens.

In case you are wondering a "curate's egg" is a noun used to describe something that is at least partly bad, but with some arguably redeeming features. The term derives from a cartoon published in the humorous British magazine Punch on 9 November 1895. Drawn by George du Maurier and entitled "True Humility", it pictures a timid-looking curate taking breakfast in his bishop's house. The bishop remarks with candid honesty to his lowly guest: "I'm afraid you've got a bad egg, Mr Jones." The curate replies, desperate not to offend his eminent host and ultimate employer: "Oh, no, my Lord, I assure you that parts of it are excellent!"

I am enjoying my time as a Curate very much, and am looking forward to getting to know as many of you as possible in the near future.

Revd. Tim Dawson