Curates’ retreat is a first for CME programme

Friday May 3rd 2013

For the first time curates from across Ireland came together for a period of retreat as part of the Continuing Ministerial Education programme.

Curates and CME team members in the grounds of Rydal Hall. Photo: Archdeacon Stephen Forde.

A total of 26 curates travelled from parishes as far apart as Limavady in Derry Diocese to Douglas in Cork Diocese, and from Castlederg and Kesh parishes in the west to Ballyholme and Waterford in the east. A large number were from Connor Diocese.

Belfast Regional Co-ordinator the Rev Denise Acheson with third year curates outside Rydal Hall.With them were members of the CME team, including the new Central Director of CME, the Rev Jennifer McWhirter; Belfast Regional Co–ordinator and rector of Dunmurry the Rev Denise Acheson; Laurie Randall of the pastoral support group, and the Bishop of Connor the Rev Alan Abernethy along with the Archdeacons of Connor and Dalriada. The retreat was led by the Dean of Belfast, the Very Rev John Mann.

It took place at Rydal Hall in the English Lake District, a favoured venue for Connor Continuing Education in Ministry Retreats in the past, and ran from Tuesday April 23 – Friday April 26.

Dean Mann led five sessions on the topic ‘a view from the spiritual edgeland.’ There was time for reflection and prayer during each session and every evening, while the afternoons were free time which group members used for walking, jogging, shopping or simply reading, resting and enjoying each other’s company.

Dean John Mann who led the retreat relaxes in the sunshine at Rydal Hall. Photo: Archdeacon Stephen Forde.Denise said: “This was the first all–Ireland retreat for curates and they really appreciated it as it gave them the chance to get to know their counterparts.”

She said the all–Ireland CME programme had been designed to standardise training for curates across the church.

“Previously different dioceses delivered different programmes,” she said. “CME builds on the components laid down during training at the Church of Ireland Theological Institute.”

The groundwork for the new programme of CME was carried out by Andrew McNeile and it will be delivered by Jennifer McWhirter, former rector of Templepatrick and Donegore, Connor Diocese, who will work closely with the Director of the Theological Institute, Dr Maurice Elliott, and the House of Bishops.

The Dublin Regional Co–ordinator is the Rev Janice Aiton. The CME regional groups meet four times a year and all curates attend an intensive study week at Theological Institute.



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