Who's Who and Who does What! in the ministry!
Have you often wondered “Who’s who and who does what?” in church, simple question but one rarely asked, so to put this matter straight here is a simple explanation to some of the rolls that you may come across.
Readers: are lay people who have been selected, trained and licensed by the Bishop of a diocese to preach, teach and lead worship in a pastoral context. They cannot take a service of Holy Communion or pronounce absolution.
An Ordinand is a lay person who has committed to the training leading on to the path of ordination in the ministry as a Deacon. At the successful conclusion of their training, an ordinand is made deacon to serve in a specific parish. They cannot, in fact, be made deacon without the promise of a post in the parish, and are said to serve their title there
After a year of such service, during which they will be undergoing further training, they will be ordained Priest. During that first year as deacon, like a reader, they are not authorised to preside at a service of Holy Communion (that authority is given when they are ordained priest); nor is a deacon authorised to pronounce absolution or blessing.
A Curate is the name most used for deacons when newly ordained to a parish. In fact, they are technically assistant curates, for the incumbent is the curate, acting as they do, on behalf of the bishop, who is responsible for the cure of souls in his diocese. Once they have been ordained as priest, after their first year of ordained ministry, they continue to be known as curates until they have completed their training – usually after about three years.
An incumbent is the general name given to the minister of a benefice (a parish or group of parishes, normally under the care of a single minister), charged with the cure of souls in a parish. They are usually titled Vicar or Rector
An Archdeacon is a senior member of the clergy who serves under their bishop, usually with responsibility for the area’s church buildings and pastoral care for clergy. A diocesan Bishop is the chief pastor of all that are within his diocese, both laity and clergy.