Curates and Vicars and Rectors..Oh my

Discussion in 'Questions?' started by Scottish Knight, Jan 31, 2021.

  1. Scottish Knight

    Scottish Knight Well-Known Member

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    This probably shows I'm not an Anglican lol but Episcopalians seem to have so many titles for ministers that I thought it could be good to have a thread which explains the origins of the names and the differences. I understand the difference between bishop, arch bishop and priest/presbyter but then you have ministers, vicars, curates and rectors. What are the differences between these names? Then you have stipendiary and non-stipendiary ministers. Also what role do deacons and arch deacons play in the Anglican denomination?
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2021
  2. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    A Minister can be a minister even though he is not ordained. I am a LLM (Local Lay Minister).
    A Vicar is the cure of souls in a parish. There are many priests who are not vicars becise they have no parish.
    A Curate is a traineee priest in a parish. A Deacon is usually the same.
    A Stipendiary Priest is payed expenses of office by the Diocese.
    A non Stipendiary Priest is not payed expenses formally, but may be provided with a house for duty.
    A Rector does not have to look after the people of his parish. He can pay a Vicar to do it for him.
    Deacons are learner Priests, usually.
    Arch Deacons are next to the Bishop in who they can boss about. Anyone below a Bishop essentially. They are the most feard of all clergy. :laugh:

    I'm no expert so I invite others better up in church hierarchy to correct me if I'm wrong. :)
    .
     
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  3. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    The usage differs somewhat in the United States. You will seldom if ever hear anyone use the term Vicar.

    Rector: the senior priest at a parish
    Curate: the assistant priest at a parish
    Priest in Charge: the senior priest at a mission
    Priest Assisting: the junior priest at a mission
    Deacon in Charge: a deacon in charge of a mission
    Licensed Lay Reader: a person trained to read the Daily Offices and the Epistle at Holy Communion; this person may be issued a license to preach at the bishop's discretion

    Archdeacon: typically the senior priest in a diocese who is not a bishop; in my diocese he is the only person other than the bishop authorized to certify someone's liturgical training
    Dean: the US usage varies significantly from what this means in the UK. The term is almost interchangeable with Archdeacon in US usage. The title dean is usually used when the person in question does not have the specialized education that is typical of Archdeacons.
    Canon: this individual has a function at the diocesan level. My diocese has a canon missioner, a canon liturgist, a canon theologian, and a canon for Chaplaincy endorsements;
    A Canon may have a provincial level function such as being the Archbishop's chaplain or the liaison to other provinces.
    When I came into the priesthood my local church was still a mission so I was the Priest Assisting. When we attained parish status I became the Curate. Then the Archbishop gave me a provincial level job and made me a Canon.
     
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  4. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Active Member

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    I thought (maybe wrongly) that a Rector held his position from a private benefactor who supported or owned the church he was in.
    I understand a Dean is the "vicar" of a cathedral ie he holds the actual sevices in the cathedral.

    I don't understand the difference between a suffrigan and non suffrigan Bishop.
    I'm not sure what a Canon is. I understand again maybe wrongly that it is someone with canon law skills.
     
  5. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Suffrigen Bishops are Bishops of part of a Diocese, under a Bishop of the whole diocese. The Bishops of Southampton and Basingstoke are suffrigens in the diocese of Winchester. The Bishop of Winchester is the Bishop of the entire diocese of Winchester.
    .
     
  6. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    Then there is the Bishop Coadjutor. This individual is expected to be the successor of a retiring Bishop Ordinary, which is the primary bishop of a diocese.
     
  7. Othniel

    Othniel Active Member Typist

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    Ah yes, the Sergeant-Majors of the Episcopacy.
     
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  8. PDL

    PDL Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I can only exlain how these are used in one Anglican church, viz. the Cuhurch of England.

    Curate: Properly means the priest who has been assigned to a parish as its incumbent. He is said to be beneficed to the parish. He is called the curate because he has the 'cure of souls'. Here 'cure' is an older English word that means 'care'. This is how the term 'curate' is employed in the Book of Common Prayer. However, it is often, incorectly, used to refer to a priest who has been assigned to a parish as an assistant priest. When it is used to mean this the proper term should be 'assistant curate'.

    Rector and vicar refer also the incumbent of a parish. The difference now is historical. I cannot recall when but after a certain date, I believe it was early in the twentieth century, it was decided that when a new parish was created its incumbent was to be called the rector. In the past a rector may be assigned to a parish but not be resident. He would however receive from the parish what were called the greater tithes. He need not even have been a clergyman: he could have been a layman. When this situation occurred a vicar was appointed to discharge the duties of parish priest. He would receive what were called the lesser tithes. The vicar acted vicariously, that is on behalf of, for the rector.

    Minister is rather a vague term that can refer to both the ordained and the lay. It is often generically used to refer to any priest. For example, in the rubrics of a service you may see: 'Minister: Let us pray'. It may refer to laymen who have been licensed to a particular lay office, e.g. reader. Another use of the word is to refer to those laypersons who may assist the priest at a service, e.g. 'The priest and ministers enter ...'. Here the ministers could be refering to the servers.

    Stipendiary and non-stipendiary simply refers to the fact the Church of England does not like using its wealth to pay clergymen. The word stipdendiary relates to stipend, a form of payment, e.g. salary or wages. Stipdeniary ministers receive a stipend, i.e. they are paid. Non-stipendiary ministers, also referred to as self-supporting, do not get paid.

    A deacon is one of the three degrees of Holy Orders. The other two are priest and bishop. If one is to be ordained you are first ordained as a deacon. You usually have to be a deacon for one year before being ordained to the priesthood. This year is typically spent in a parish doing pastoral work. Basically, a deacon can preside at the Office, preach, baptise. At the Eucharist he is the proper minister to read the Gospel. He also assists the priest during the Eucharist and he, for example, administrs the chalice. A deacon cannot celebrate the Eucharist nor can he hear confessions and absolve sins.

    To confuse you an archdeacon is not a deacon but a senior priest. Most dioceses have two or more. Each is given an area of the diocese called an archdeaconry. His principal role is concerned with clergy matters in his archdeaconry.
     
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  9. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    My understanding is that, properly speaking, a priest does not absolve sins, either. He may pronounce the words of absolution, however (whereas a deacon may not), signifying that God has absolved the sinner of his sins and the guilt thereof. But I concede that the word 'absolve' is taken by many to mean the pronouncement itself rather than the spiritual reality.
     
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  10. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    In the 1662 rite for the visitation of the sick, the priest uses the formula “I absolve”, etc.:
    http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/1662/visit_sick.pdf
     
  11. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    In 1662 they were not yet far enough removed from Roman influence in their thinking, in which the priest acts in personam Christi.
     
  12. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    How far removed did they have to be? The 39 Articles were already a century old. The episcopacy had been disestablished and then reestablished. English culture was solidly Protestant by this point and had been for nearly a century. The 1662 was basically the 1559 with a few tweaks…if they had wanted to revise the confession rite they certainly could have. No, the church has the power of the keys, and according to all the formularies, it is the priest who absolves. It is not merely declarative.
     
  13. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Do you then support the concept that confession to the priest and receipt of his absolution is necessary for the forgiveness of sins? It would seem to follow...
     
  14. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    The absolution is, under normal circumstances. The confession need not be private. I don’t think there’s any controversy on either of those points in Anglicanism. The wording of the rites is pretty clear.
     
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  15. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    That isn't consistent with the way my rector has explained it. His view is more consistent with the Bible.

    1Jn 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
    1Jn 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
    1Jn 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
    1Jn 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
    1Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
    1Jn 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us
    .
    1Jn 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

    The context of this scripture makes clear that if we sin we can confess our sins to Jesus, and He is faithful "to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Therefore, no mortal priest is necessary for our receipt of absolution; the priest's pronouncement is a temporal reassurance of the absolution bestowed upon us by Jesus when we repented of our sins before our Lord. The reason for such a pronouncement of absolution being in the Eucharistic liturgy is, ultimately, to aid us in knowing that we come to the Lord's table in a state of having been made worthy by God to partake of the Sacrament (1 Cor. 11:27-29) and to help drive home the fact that what we are about to receive is 'no ordinary food.'
     
  16. PDL

    PDL Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I think to say a priest absolves sins is simply a convenient shorthand. The graces from all sacraments come from God. So, yes only God grants forgiveness of our sins but it is the priest who pronounces the words of absolution.
     
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  17. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    And yet, the Prayer Book says what it says, based on the words attributed to Christ in the Gospel of John:
    Historic church teaching on the subject is clear as day. Your rector explained it wrong. Sorry.
     
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  18. PDL

    PDL Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I believe my rector could explain it differently and also cite the Bible as his source. It seems to me to be a matter of emphasis and the reason why Anglicanism does not rigidly follow a single path but allows for a diverse range of churchmanship.
     
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  19. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    You would trump the authority of the Bible with "historic church teaching," an invalid approach to Christianity. The RCC used it, the EO used it, but the Anglicans put the Bible in 1st Place, head and shoulders above 'church history.'
     
  20. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    What do you want me to tell you? It’s in the Prayer Book, and this is an Anglican site. I’m just telling you what it says. Obviously they thought the Bible meant something different than what your Rector said. There’s not much I can do about that.

    If I cite the 1662 Prayer Book and the biblical passage itself on which the teaching in question is based (almost word-for-word), and your response is to tell me that what I’m saying is somehow “unbiblical” because your rector told you something different, it makes me wonder why you would want to call yourself an “Anglican” at all. Your responses would have been more recognizable coming from a Baptist or a Pentecostal than an Anglican. (This is why it matters to actually be in a canonical jurisdiction. Schism always results in deviation.)
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2021