A few weeks ago, I accepted the call to serve in the Reimagining Curacies program. I said yes to a set of communities who I’d only met through email, Zoom and social media. This, as you will easily guess, is not even the strangest part of my first few months of ordained ministry. I was ordained to the transitional diaconate on March 7, 2020—on the eve of the pandemic. I didn’t expect to be interviewing over Zoom. I didn’t expect to spend my first months of ministry in front of a screen. In a time of transition that is usually full of unknowns and new adventures, this new adventure is a particularly wild and digital frontier.
So why, in this unexpected time, did I accept the call to Reimagining Curacies? I was initially intrigued by the idea of participating in a program which was so obviously centered around the formation of the curates. I think in the Episcopal Church, as a church for which curacies are no longer the norm, positions that are named as curacies can sometimes function as an assistant rector position, deprioritizing the curate’s formation in the process. When I came across this position, which was intentionally geared towards formation and rethinking curacies on a diocesan level, I knew I needed to apply.
If I’m being honest, I don’t know what I’m going to learn over the next three years—mostly because the last three months have shown me that my ministry is not going to look anything like what I imagined it would. I hope to learn more about what it means to walk alongside three very different congregations, to learn from their contexts and the incredible people who have been ministering there, and will be ministering there long after I finish my curacy year. I hope to learn about how to enter a ministry context well and how to leave well. What does it mean to say both hello and goodbye within a 12-month period, and how can I minister well within those months? I hope to learn about how to share the gifts I have around formation, communications and intentional community in a parish context, and I hope to learn more about working with particular groups, like kids, youth and college ministry.
I’m excited to move to the Research Triangle and to work with the amazing clergy, staff and congregants at COTC, St. John’s and St. Titus’. I can’t wait to learn with you, to teach you, and to learn from you in these new and unexpected times.