Deacon to priest

Deacon to Priest


Our curate, Bob Bailey, has now been around the benefice for 2 months and many of you will have met with 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 also asked me practical questions about what is expected of Bob and what he is and isn’t able to do, so I thought I would answer as many questions as I could in one fell swoop in this article.


What is Bob’s day off?


Bob has Friday as his day off, he also has a study day on Thursday.  As a curate Bob is here to learn how to be a vicar, and in order to do that 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 as otherwise we would hardly ever see each other.  Please try not to contact Bob on Fridays and don’t ask him too often to attend events on Fridays as one of the parts of learning to be a vicar is the importance of having times of rest.


What is Bob allowed to do in services?


This year Bob is a deacon, in the Church of England there are three levels of ordination – deacon, priest (or presbyter) and bishop – which literally mean ‘servant’, ‘leader’ and ‘overseer’.  Next June Bob will be ordained presbyter/priest and until then he can do all the things a priest can do except bless, absolve and consecrate the bread and wine at communion.  Bob can take baptisms and funerals, morning worship services and large parts of the communion service.


Why isn’t he a priest already?


The year as a deacon is there 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!


Does this mean we’ll see less of Andy?


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 (doing the job and then reflecting on how it went in order to improve the way we do it in future) which is no bad thing.  But it does mean that I am less available, certainly in the near term.


What is Andy’s role in all of this?


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 formation of ministerial education, but I would add that all the congregations, through our love and guidance, through our support and thoughtful reflection, are walking alongside Bob as he learns.