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“Won’t it be good to have someone to help you with your work?” is the response I’ve had from a number of people, when mentioning the arrival of Maggie Crosbie, our new curate.

  It is indeed wonderful to welcome Maggie to the benefice, and I am looking forward to working with her and having an ordained colleague. As she embarks on this new stage of her Christian calling, she will arrive with energy and anticipation. She will bring new ideas and will see things with eyes not dulled by the passage of time. She will share in the ministry of the benefice that lay and ordained hold in partnership. She will bring with her the experience of her life and the skills she has honed in her previous work.

   But above all Maggie is here to learn and to prepare for the time when she will be an incumbent (Vicar or Rector) herself. Initial training for clergy takes place in two stages: stage one, which she has just completed, is college-based; stage two is curacy. Curacy involves practical learning and theological reflection, spiritual development, study and sharing in ministry. There is a check-list of things Maggie must do during her time with us, such as leading worship and preaching, pastoral care, occasional offices (weddings, baptisms and funerals), school assemblies and so on. Much of her learning, though, will be less quantifiable and more about how to experience the role of a deacon and then a priest with all their expectations and responsibilities.

  Key to all this is the relationship that I, as her training incumbent, will have with her. But equally important is the contribution the people in our churches and communities will make. Let God surprise you through what she brings to our villages. Celebrate when she does things well. Allow her to take risks and to fail on occasion as we all do. Times when things don’t work out are probably the experiences from which we learn most. Enjoy her company, encourage her gifts and let her do the same for you.

  Please pray for her, as she will do for you. Do welcome her, introduce yourselves to her when she is out and about in the benefice and, if you can, come to our formal benefice welcome on Sunday 3rd July at 6.00 p.m. in Puddletown church. We will have a service of welcome with holy communion followed by a bring-and-share supper. Everyone is welcome – we’d love to see you.

With best wishes


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