Site search

Last updated 21st June 2017

Curate training

In the Church of England, Initial Ministerial Education (IME) takes place over a period of up to seven years and is divided into two parts:

  • IME Phase 1 is the period of up to three years when ordinands are trained at their theological college or course (context-based or part-time). There is a mixture of academic learning and practical placements.
  • IME Phase 2 is the period of curacy. Newly-ordained ministers (both deacons and priests) serve a ‘title’ as a curate for a period of up to four years. A curacy is a training post and there are several strands to this training.


Blackburn Diocese IME Phase 2 review (2017)

Following feedback from existing and recent curates, training incumbents and group tutors in early 2017, the format and content of the Blackburn Diocese IME Phase 2 has been revised. The updated structure will commence in September 2017.

For further information contact John Darch Tel 01254 813544

Expectations of a Training Incumbent

Undergirding all the criteria set out below is the necessity for the training incumbent, as an experienced parish priest, to be committed to a life of prayer as the basis of all ministry, both personally and in the ministry that is shared with the curate who is being trained.

A training incumbent:

  • Is settled in his/her parish, will make a commitment to stay for the curate’s diaconate, and expects to be there for the majority of the four year training period.
  • Is actively engaged with Vision 2026 with an up to date parish/benefice Mission/Vision Action Plan
  • Has a genuine willingness to train a curate, as distinct from merely wanting an assistant, and is already engaged in his/her own in-service training and development.
  • Has a mature degree of self-awareness and understanding of his/her own:
    • strengths and weaknesses in ministry and personality
    • ability to work closely and collaboratively with a colleague
  • Has a theological and spiritual stance which is clear but open and so is:
    • able to articulate his/her own theological position
    • willing to work with a colleague of a different theological and spiritual stance
  • Is prepared for a curate to develop in ways different from his/her own with regard to:
    • the deployment of special gifts of ministry
    • specific delegated responsibilities
    • preferred styles of worship, mission and pastoral ministry
  • Can work in a collegial rather than hierarchical style, maintaining a healthy professional, spiritual and social relationship with the curate, sharing both the joys and sorrows of ministry while at the same time establishing and respecting clear boundaries.
  • Has an understanding of learning styles and cycles in adult learning.  
  • Is willing and able to embrace a degree of creativity and flexibility in training.
  • Can hold on to the traditional ministerial role of servant and shepherd while responding to a developing training culture in a changing church.

The financial position of the parish/benefice in respect of parish share payments will also be considered.