Sunday, 18 May 2008

A critique of curacies in the Diocese of Chelmsford

(Ed: This is from Sam Norton's Elizaphanian blogspot.)

Last week I attended a training course at Pleshey (part 2 of 'how to look after your curate' although it wasn't officially called that). This post explains my disquiet about one aspect of the course - click 'full post' for text.

This part of the course was primarily about the art of supervisions, how to conduct the regular meetings between training incumbent and curate in such a way that the curacy 'succeeds'. There was a strong sense that the Diocese has been a little scarred by, some years back, a high number of curacies 'failing' - hence a renewed emphasis on the training of the incumbents who are due to receive a curate for training.

However, I was a little alarmed that in the opening session we ventured straight into various secular analyses of supervision which, however worthy, are not automatically entitled to be accepted within the church. I asked whether we were going to spend any time exploring the theology of supervisions and it seemed that apart from a minimal engagement with some passages from Mark's gospel, we weren't. This I see as a typical example of the way in which training as a whole in the Church of England is not just theologically lightweight but prone to being captured by secular philosophies travelling under the guise of 'professionalism'.

What I want to do in this post is sketch out the sort of theological framework that would need to be explored prior to engaging with the secular perspectives. I have no doubt that secular perspectives have much to contribute to the conversation, it's just that I believe we need to 'arm ourselves with the Word' before engaging with them, so that our minds are attuned to what is compatible with our faith and what is not. I don't have any especial expertise in this area so this is really a requested agenda in four parts, to be developed by those who are more qualified. Read more
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