Saturday, 27 February 2021
A CURATE at St Mary’s Church in Wargrave has been furloughed for the next three months.
Hugh Barne, who has been at the church since July 2017, will not be able to continue with ministry in the parish until after April 30.
The Oxford Diocese has made the decision to furlough all paid curates in their fourth year of training.
Mr Barne, who lives with his wife Grace and their one-year-old son Isaac, will still be allowed to continue with some of his training as he seeks a job with a new ministry.
He said: “It is a shame in a way to be taken away from parish activities but is a good opportunity to apply for jobs.
“The diocese is encouraging me to think about next steps and where I will be off to. It can be hard to give job applications the right amount of time in the midst of everything else.
“There’s time for family, reflection and reading, so there are lots of positives about it. It has been a difficult time to apply for jobs but we keep looking for the next step and pray for the right thing to come up.”
Rev John Cook, the vicar of Wargrave, said: “Hugh has been looking to move on to another parish as his curacy comes to an end.
“This has been quite a challenge — one of the side effects of the pandemic is that few parishes have been advertising or interviewing.
“Over the next three months, we will miss Hugh and Grace’s ministry among us.
“We will be able to continue to enjoy fellowship and friendship with them in ways we are permitted to throughout this time.
“For Hugh there are potential benefits — he will be able to set aside time to prayerfully focus on future ministry, have a time of refreshment and enjoy more family time.
“We will find a way of having a proper farewell to Hugh, Grace and Isaac when they do move.”
Due to a reduced workload in the parish office, admin manager Lucy Bowley and communications manager Ros Heath are able to be furloughed on a flexible basis.
They will work alternative weeks on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Residents can leave messages on the office phone answering machine or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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