The vast majority of clergy serve in parishes across the country as vicars or rectors and lead a church through prayer, teaching, and worship, enabling God’s people to be better disciples of Christ. 

They preside at Holy Communion, baptisms, weddings, and funerals, walking alongside people in their joy and in their grief. They are generous to those who are different, striving to be mature, self-aware, and willing to learn. They are committed to the mission of the Church of England, working with others to build up the Church through recognising where God is at work in the world and in the lives of others. 

Everyone who is ordained as Priest or Distinctive Deacon will, as part of their training, serve in a parish for about 3 years as what are known as Assistant Curates – sharing in the ‘cure of souls’ of that parish with the bishop and the local Incumbent (that is, vicar or rector). 

How do I become a vicar?

Do you believe God is calling you to serve as a vicar? To become a vicar, sometimes referred to within the Church as an incumbent, you must first be ordained. After training at one of the Church of England’s theological institutions (listed below), you train for up to three and a half years years as an assistant curate. This may be in the Diocese of London but more likely in another diocese around the country.  Training for ordination is unlike any normal recruitment process. It is best seen as a time of discernment, and is therefore more like a journey or pilgrimage than an examination.  

It is important you continually pray about your vocation throughout the discernment process. 

The first person to talk to is your local vicar.  After some discussion, if they feel you are ready to explore this call, they may refer you to the Area Director of Ordinands.  

Theological institutions

A variety of theological education institutes are available below, with Church of England quality assurance information available here.