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Why a curate for St Clement’s?

2011 April 12
by Gordon Reid

As many of you know, I have been looking for a new curate for quite a while now. St Clement’s is a church which is more of a shrine church than a parish church. By this I mean that people choose to come here from quite a distance around, usually because they like the traditional Anglo-Catholic liturgy or the classical music sung by a superb choir.

One of our main tasks is, therefore, to maintain the best standard of ceremonial and music, especially at the High Mass. This cannot be done with just one priest, but requires at least a priest and a deacon or, in practice, two priests.

But another reason for finding a curate is that many of our elderly, faithful members have moved into assisted living. Some of them can still get to church; others are house-bound. They have come to St Clement’s almost every week (and some of them almost every day) for decades, and it is only right that St Clement’s should go to them with the Bread of Life as often as possible. Of course, some churches have chosen to use lay ministers to do this, but this would not do here, especially with our more traditional elderly members. They want to see a priest!

And a third reason for having a curate is that, over the years, St Clement’s has sent out quite a number of younger priests, fully trained in the disciplines of the Daily Office and the traditional Mass, (including the ability to sing it), the hearing of Confessions, the ¬†anointing of the sick etc, as well as the ability to teach the Catholic Faith both in the pulpit and in classes. Those fleeing to the various schisms or to the RC Church have left a vacuum in the Episcopal Church which must be filled with healthy, confident Anglican Catholics. St Clement’s, and churches like ours, have the duty to continue providing places for such young priests to be trained.

So, even though it is an expensive business these days to employ two priests, I am still looking hard for the right man to come here as curate. He will have to be single and willing to live in the Clergy House (though in a nice apartment of his own); he will have to unlearn a lot of the nonsense that passes for doctrine, Church history and ¬†liturgy in some of our seminaries; and most of all he will have to have a sense of humour if he is to survive the modern Church (and even bits of it in St Clement’s!)

9 Responses leave one →
  1. Sean W. Reed permalink
    April 12, 2011


    This Saturday we will be remembering a past rector of our parish, and former curate of St. Clement’s, Father T. Raynor Morton upon the occasion of the anniversary of his death.

    Requiescat in pace, Father Morton!

    Sean Reed

  2. Jim Hicks permalink
    April 12, 2011


    I will be one of those praying that you find a suitable candidate.

    Jim Hicks

  3. Stephen permalink
    April 14, 2011

    I’d love to be the Curate of Saint Clement’s Philadelphia! But off-hand, I’d say the facts that I’m neither an ordained priest nor an Anglican would prove to be definite impediments, as well as sure signs that God has not called me to such service!:)

    In all seriousnes, May God Bless your efforts to find a Curate for your wonderful parish!

  4. Margaret of the Sea of Galilee permalink
    April 15, 2011

    Half the readers of this blog would give their right arm for the job…even though we are totally unqualified and unsuitable! Not to mention our current geographical locations! In my prayers…

  5. Bromartin permalink
    April 17, 2011

    …not too many “Colin Stephensons” around these days.

  6. April 22, 2011

    Dear Fr. Reid: It is my honor to serve as the director of the Historical Society & Archives of the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas (Absalom Jones’ church). I also serve on the History Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania. My place of employment is primarily situated at 20th & Market Streets and I have attended several church services at St. Clements. I would like very much to know more that which you feel is the “nonsense that passes for … Church history … in some of our seminaries ….”
    Wishing you a Blessed Easter and Peace

  7. Tristan permalink
    April 24, 2011


    If you’re able to take British curates, I would suggest writing to Ministry Division and asking them to put your notice on their lists. I know some Anglican seminarians who would leap at the chance. If it wasn’t single-only accomodation, I would too!

    Easter Greetings.


  8. Bromartin permalink
    May 4, 2011

    I would think the only serious candidates in the US might come from Nashotah. A curate at S.Clement’s has to be inspired and prepared for spiritual demands and the rewards of experiencing full catholic practice, as it exists rarely in the Anglican Communion today.
    Many would probably love to test the water, but going the distance might be something else…!

    God Bless you in the continuing search.

  9. May 29, 2011

    Please consider a female priest. St. Marks, another Anglo-Catholic parish in your city, has one and is thriving. Other Angl0-Catholic parishes even female rectors! The time has come for St. Clement’s to welcome the other half of the human race to the ordained ministry. To persist in excluding women is simply wrong. Jesus was born of a woman – as we all are!

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