Duncan Milwain has started as the new ‘Assistant Curate’ at Bradford Cathedral. In this blog post we discover more about him and the role.
You’ve started as Curate at Bradford Cathedral, for at least the next three years. Briefly, what is the role of the Curate?
The full title is “assistant Curate” which gives a clue as to the role – which is to help out the rest of the clergy team. A curate is also a trainee or apprentice vicar and learns by working alongside more experienced clergy.
Could you introduce yourself, tell us about your hobbies, and your journey so far in the church?
I’m married to Kerry and have three children. Edmund graduated from Durham University last year and is now continuing his studies having worked at St Nick’s church over the past 12 months. Isla is currently studying art at Edinburgh University where she is specialising in sculpture. Emily, who you will get to meet, was born in June.
I’ve been a lawyer for many years and part of the work I used to do was to advise charities and social enterprises. I was able to combine this with some of my interests – including food and music – by advising, supporting and acting as trustee or director of a number of organisations. I love cooking – particularly middle Eastern food.
You will be involved in the services at Bradford Cathedral. What do you hope to bring to these?
That’s quite a difficult one! I hope I can bring my enthusiasms and experience to bear and to help being a small part of what the Cathedral is seeking to become within the life of Bradford.
What areas are you most looking forward to in your role?
I’m looking forward to learning from the rest of the team – clergy and non-clergy alike and to being a part of the Cathedral’s celebration of Bradford 2025. But most of all I look forward to meeting and getting to know those in and on the margins of the community here at the Cathedral.
As part of the role you will preach some sermons. For you, what makes a good sermon?
A good sermon should be invitational and not feel like a lecture. It should make people think and make them curious about how they are or might take part in the identification with and development of the Kin-dom of God in Bradford. I also think it is quality not quantity that matters – I’d much rather a short(er) sermon that makes an impact.
What do you hope to take away from your time at Bradford Cathedral?
I hope to understand better how, within a particular place and context, a church can discern how best to be among and to be with the people around it.
What are your plans for the future following your curacy?
I’m gradually learning to listen more to God and to plan less myself – so I’m trying to resist too much by way of planning. That said, I do very much hope to be able to continue ministry in the Bradford area.
In 2020 you recorded a video for us about transforming food waste. Is that something you’re still involved in?
Whilst I’m not currently doing anything directly involving food waste I do see this as part of my ministry. Two of the Five Marks of Mission that the Anglican Communion adopted are to protect the integrity of God’s creation and to respond to human need. I think it is important that the twin issues of wasting one-third of that which God has provided and the injustice of people – both near and far – going hungry in a world where there is sufficient – continue to be raised and tackled.
Finally, what message would you give to our congregation as you start at the Cathedral?
Please don’t hesitate to come and chat with me or invite me to come and have a coffee or tea with you. I’d love to find out more about the particular people who form the Cathedral congregation. And please do be kind if I forget your names.