The Church of England has announced funding of £9.4 million for additional curate posts.
It will mean almost 70 extra stipendiary curacy positions for deacons who are ordained this year.
Rev Helen Fraser who is Head of Vocations and Deputy Director of the Ministry Development Team for the Church of England has been speaking to Premier about what it will mean for churches and parishes:
“The funding is to directly support that stage of training after the point of ordination, before somebody then goes on to be either an assistant minister or to be the leader of a church themselves as an incumbent.
“We’ve actually been running this scheme a few years. As the Church of England we had a real sense that God was calling more and more people to serve in this way. So it was set up in 2019 and used first in 2020. We know that dioceses really want all these curates in their churches, but a sudden step up in funding would be quite a significant task, so the Church and the Archbishops' Council knew that to make that work we needed to offer some support, so that’s what’s been happening.
“I think it's helped confidence. People who sense God is calling them have really important questions such as: 'Will I be useful?' and, 'Will I be able to engage in ministry and feed my family?'
"These are really important questions and hopefully, this scheme gives confidence to those people. It also gives confidence to the church that actually, ministry is growing, that we really need and appreciate those ministers and that God is calling excellent people to serve in the church.”
Rev LJ Tiffney (pictured) is one of 14 deacons ordained this summer at Blackburn Cathedral. She has begun work as a curate at St Thomas’s Church, a parish in Blackpool.
Rev Tiffney trained at Emmanuel Theological College having completed the Ministry Experience Scheme – a year long placement for young adults aged between 18 and 30 years - at Freedom Church in Mereside, Blackpool.
She said: “I am thrilled to be at St Thomas’s - I feel that God is calling me to be here and I see God at work through the stories of the people who live in the parish.”
The grant, approved by the Strategic Mission and Ministry Investment Board (SMMIB), will support 68.5 additional stipendiary curacy posts for deacons ordained this year.
The funds have been made from the Diocesan Investment Programme to ensure that there is no shortfall in the number of available stipendiary curacy posts.
A further £8.4 million of funding has been approved by the Board for additional curacies in 2024.