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Exchanging experiences with curates in Germany

Published: 15th June 2023

The town of WittenburgLast month, three of our curates – Mel Beynon, Richard Sandland and James Williams visited our partner diocese in central Germany as part of a ‘curate exchange’.

This was the return visit following a visit from German curates to our diocese last year. They spent six days in Germany, visiting different parishes there and understanding some of the challenges that clergy experience in the Evangelische Kirche in Mitteldeutschland (EKM).

Mel said: “I wanted to be part of the trip because I knew it would be harder to do something similar once I become an incumbent. It was a hugely valuable experience. I was overwhelmed by the German hospitality and a genuine desire to hear what our experience was like. I learned a huge amount while I was there.”visiting Wittenburg church

Mel and Richard had been involved in the visit last year so had already met those who they were staying with in Germany. Richard said: “We picked up our conversations where we had left off last year, there was no awkwardness. Almost everyone there spoke really good English so our lack of German wasn’t a barrier and we were able to talk to congregation members as well as other clergy.”

The group split into two groups for the first part of the trip with some staying in a hostel and others with a curate and their family. They then joined back together at a retreat house. There was the chance to attend different church services and even lead intercessions or do a reading; and the group followed in the footsteps of Martin Luther, visiting two of the key places where the reformation began. Our curates were also able to support one of the German ministers as he led a Taizé service for the first time and of course there was plenty of excellent cake!Statue of Martin Luther

James said: “It was great to have an opportunity to see what church life is like in a different part of Europe and realise that the same practices happen elsewhere. It is marvellous to be reminded that the work of God goes on everywhere! There was also a real sense of fellowship and joy on the trip as we got to know both our English and German colleagues much better. We had lots of fun and some powerful moments together.”

The Diocese of Worcester has a long-standing partnership with the EKM and the curate exchange has happened over a number of years, only stopping due to Covid.

Mel said: “I would definitely encourage others to get involved. It was a tiring week, but I wouldn’t have missed it and have already volunteered to host a German curate next time they visit our diocese.”

James added: “It is one of the only opportunities to have an experience beyond the Diocese during curacy. The partnership link means a huge amount to people in the EKM and it is worth knowing that there are people who care and pray for us there and who want to work together. It was an overwhelmingly positive experience, we were able to share honestly and openly together and understand that we face similar challenges.”One of the German curates in Wittenburg church

Richard said: “It was a six-day theological reflection with loads of laughter! I would definitely recommend it to our curates next time. Since I’ve come back I have started learning German and have been exchanging emails and WhatsApp messages with one of the curates in Germany – it definitely won’t be the last time I visit!”

The group was led by Archdeacon Robert Jones who the Chair of our EKM link group and the Revd Andrew Sillis was also part of the group. If you are interested in finding out more about our partnership with Germany, please contact him.

Page last updated: Thursday 15th June 2023 10:01 AM

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