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Last updated 24th June 2024

Curate training

In the Church of England, Initial Ministerial Education (IME) takes place over a period of up to seven years and is divided into two parts:

IME Phase 1 is the period of up to three years when ordinands are trained at their theological college or course (context-based or part-time). There is a mixture of academic learning and practical placements.

IME Phase 2 is the period of curacy. Newly-ordained ministers (both deacons and priests) serve a ‘title’ as a curate for a period of up to four years. A curacy is a training post and there are several strands to this training.

The IME2 handbook is available here

  • The dates for IME2 training (covering September 2024 - July 2025) available here.

A blank copy of the ministry agreement between Curate and Training Incumbent is available here.

The forms used for placements are this working agreement document available here,  and this end of placement report form available here.

The end of year one Training Incumbent questionnaire is available here.


  • Form clergy capable of implementing Vision 2026 to build healthy churches that transform communities
  • Ensure that curates have the necessary skills, experiences and characteristics for the next stage of their ministry and can provide evidence for this
  • Enhance and support the work of the Training Incumbent in forming new clergy
  • Provide experiences for learning and reflection that cannot be provided within the Parish
  • Allow for ongoing personal and spiritual formation for curates
  • Enable fellowship, friendship and mutual support amongst curates
  • Instil a love for and a loyalty to Lancashire and to the Diocese of Blackburn in order to increase retention rates post-curacy from 50% to 80%


There will be two strands to the IME2 Programme.

Strand 1 will be compulsory and unaccredited. It will focus on practical training which equips curates for leadership roles and supports their priestly formation. The programme will be agreed and delivered locally.

Strand 2 will be optional. It will allow for those who would like a greater degree of academic input or who want to complete a degree to have space and funding for an accredited course such as an MA.


1. An Annual Theme

Each year IME 2 will focus on one of the three themes drawn from Vision 2026.

  • Year 1: Leadership
  • Year 2: Discipleship
  • Year 3: Witness

This content will be delivered in the following ways:

  1. Two residentials per year 
  2. Three full-day teaching events. 
  3. In addition there will be a fourth day which will have a more legal and administrative focus:   
    •  Marriage law
    •  Church Representation Law, APCMs, PCCs etc
    •  Funerals, churchyards etc

The Bishop of Burnley and the Start of Ministry Officers will work closely with a small group of curates/first incumbents to devise the programme for each year.

2. Three Practical Projects

  • Discipleship - To lead on a project that will develop laypeople as disciples, eg a nurture course, a pilgrimage or a residential event.
  • Leadership - To undertake a three week placement in a different ministry context
  • Witness - To lead on an evangelistic initiative such as a fresh expression, messy church, a mission weekend etc.

3. Additional Components

Additional days and activities will be put on from time to time or as requested by Curates and Training Incumbents. 

There is a document available with the expectations of a Training Incumbent outlined.

For further information contact our Start of Ministry Officers:
-Rev Jon Price
Rev Helen Scamman



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