Welcoming Helen Hill Curate for The Stroud Team from 28 June 2020

Helen, along with her husband Peter, will be joining us in June as Helen begins her curacy in the Stroud Team. Helen is a Self Supporting Curate and will be with us for two days a week plus Sundays.

Helen and Peter will be staying in their home in Charfield, and Helen will be travelling to Stroud on the days she is ministering amongst us.

As a part-time curate, Helen will be with us for 3-5 years. Many of you will have already met Helen, and will have already recognised what a huge asset she will be to our team, while she was with us on placement last summer.

Of course, this is an extraordinary year to be ordained, and it is looking, at best, uncertain as to when the actual ordination will be able to take place. However, we have been assured by our Bishops that all curates will be able to start at the time they were expecting to and will, in the first place, be licensed as Pastoral Assistants until such a time as they are able to be Deaconed, and this allows wide-ranging ministry practice comparative to the world of a Deacon.

Helen has been training on the Cuddesdon, Gloucester and Hereford Programme for the last 2 years. Helen is an active member of the lay ministry team in Wickwar Benefice where she lives, establishing new areas of mission and ministry.

What can we do to help support and train Helen Hill, our new curate?

A curate is placed in a training parish for two reasons:

  1. There is a minister suitable to be a training incumbent
  2. The group of churches is healthy and able to provide a variety and range of opportunities for the curate

Alongside these,  you as the Stroud Team will pay Helen’s expenses in full, and will allow Helen and Kate to spend time training as part of her development. As well as this, there are other things that you, the congregations, can do that will play a vitally important part in Helen’s training:

  1. Tell her when she’s got it right. Affirm and encourage Helen. Tell her why it helped you and how it built up the people involved [be as specific as you can – that was a lovely sermon is great, but doesn’t give anything to build on]. If you have more negative feedback, offer it to Kate who can decide what best to do with it.
  2. Try new ideas. Helen will come with lots of new ideas. Some may sound mad and are in fact brilliant. Some may sound really challenging but will transform the life of the church. Some may just be bad ideas. We won’t know which are the brilliant and transformational ones unless you try them!
  3. Share your jobs and wisdom. Helen needs to do things. Please give her a chance to do stuff, even if that is normally your role. And share the wisdom you have accrued from the ministries in which you are involved.
  4. Be generous with your time. Both Helen and Kate will need your patience as they take on new roles as curate and training incumbent. Please support them in this.
  5. Value mistakes. Mistakes are vital to learning. If Helen never takes risks or makes mistakes she [and we] will never learn. Mistakes are important things, they should be valued.
  6. Learn with Helen. Having someone in training is a chance for the whole community to reflect and learn from one another, and from the Spirit of God calling us out and on.
  7. Pray! Do this regularly. Pray for Helen, and for Peter, for the leadership team and for one another.
    God has many gifts to give us and many lessons to teach us. Pray that we might all be open to receiving and learning. 

Top tips for supporting a Curate.

  1. Praying for Helen and her family.
  2. Don’t expect Helen to know your name – each time you meet her introduce yourself. 
  3. Offer local information to Helen and Peter – they are new to the churches and the area.
  4. Invite Helen to your home, but not just in the first couple of weeks!
  5. Respect the days when Helen isn’t on duty – we will make sure these are well publicised.
  6. Take risks in mission and ministry with Helen.
  7. Be ready to learn yourself, as an individual and as part of a congregation.
  8. Don’t compare Helen to anyone else.
  9. Allow Helen to show you new things – she brings a whole host of riches to share.
  10. Enjoy having Helen as our curate. 

A prayer to keep somewhere where you will be reminded to pray for Helen.

God of all wisdom, whose Son Jesus Christ calls us to be his disciples; form and teach us through the places and people to whom you call us. Help us to learn from one another and from you, that we may grow in discipleship, serve your church, and ever be renewed as ministers in your Kingdom. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, our teacher, shepherd and Lord. Amen.

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Communion during this time

In these unprecedented times, we are working hard to find imaginative solutions in a landscape that has been rapidly changing. Sometimes we get things right, and sometimes we miss the mark. I apologise that this has been the case regarding communion.

For those of you who have received wafers in a parcel, we would ask that you either consume them, or put them somewhere safe to bring back once we are able to be together again.

We are going to be sending out a new order of service for use during this time as either a simple service of the word or, on occasion, to help us to share an Agape meal together.

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