Seven and a half weeks

When the panic is on, it is good to remember the paths and landscapes we have already traversed, the mountains we have had to climb.

We have just seven and a half weeks left of college. Many of us still have 4 assignments to hand in and a leavers' course where they finally teach us how to take a funeral. They will also perhaps cover such things as managing the stipend, coping with magnolia-washed houses and thinking through the work/life balance. 

In the meantime, we are...
... practising our 39 articles and working our which ones are our favourites!

... sending out invitations to post-ordination buffet lunches

... phoning up removals companies and hiring skips

... securing Children's schools 

... settling vestments bills 

... writing 200 words of interesting facts about ourselves for local newspapers

... thinking about the Bishop washing feet and whether it necessitates a pedicure

... deciding on under-cassock attire, having worked out you wear something!

... going on Saturday visits as a secret shopper to the curacy town/village/city


I think we need another cartoon. Hurry up Dave Walker because mine needs work and it's a rip-off of yours anyway. 

Here's some clarification on what it is we will be moving into this Petertide, with the caveat that our ministry does not begin at Petertide, it began at our baptism.

Priestly ministry is closely bound up with the life of the ecclesial communion. Through ordination bishops and presbyters receive the gift of divine grace to serve a specific community, to which their mission is inseparably related. The canonical tradition of the Church prohibits absolute ordinations, that is, ordinations without a specific appointment. The ministry of both bishops and presbyters should be exercised within a specific diocese or congregation.

The communal character of ordination rites reflects the understanding of priesthood as a ministry within a specific ecclesial community. Ordination should never be performed in private. It is always an ecclesial act, which takes place publicly within the Christian community. It is not performed by the bishop (or bishops) alone, but by the bishop together with the clergy and the congregation. The assent proclaimed by the entire community in Anglican... ordination rites is not a ritual exclamation but a responsible expression of ecclesial approval. This liturgical consent has profound ecclesiological significance. It shows that the bishop is not acting alone, but as the person who has the sacramental authority to ordain within the Christian community and together with it. The bishop is the person charismatically appointed to safeguard the unity of the Church, who connects, past, present and future by what we call apostolic succession.

We wish to stress again that priesthood cannot exist apart from the community. It is not an authority or a power above the community, nor a function or office parallel to or outside it. Priesthood is intrinsically related to the eucharistic offering, the central empowering event and source of unity of the ecclesial community. This means that local communities find their unity in their priest, through whom the local community forms a eucharistic body, sacramentally linked and canonically united with the catholic fullness of the Church. Through the gift of grace given to the ordained person, ecclesial unity and catholicity is realised in a particular place as eucharistic participation. Priesthood exists, then, as a gift of grace which belongs, not to individuals in their own right, but to persons who are dedicated to serving the community. The words of Christ addressed to his disciples are significant, and clearly describe the true character of priestly service: ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came, not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many’ (Matthew 20.25-28).

Christian priesthood involves participation in Christ’s own priestly mission. It is the personal gift of the Holy Spirit to the newly-ordained that enables this participation. Through the epiclesis and the coming of the Holy Spirit in ordination, Christ’s own priesthood is offered to them, and so remains alive and effectual within the ecclesial body.

...we may conclude that priesthood is in no way a ministry which involves division or classification within the ecclesial body. The distinction between a priest and a lay person is not one of legal status but of distribution of the gifts of the Spirit. As St Paul says, ‘Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone’ (1 Corinthians 12.4-6). This means that through ordination a member of the Church is set apart in order to minister the sacrament of ecclesial unity. In the patristic tradition, priesthood is never understood as an office based on an objectified mark imprinted on the soul of the ordained person, but rather as an ecclesial gift, a vocation whose purpose is to build up the Body of Christ. In debates about the nature of ordained priesthood the distinction has often been drawn between ‘ontological’ and ‘functional’ definitions, where ‘ontological’ has often been understood to mean a quality given to the individual priestly soul. We need to move beyond this approach, and consider priesthood on the basis of an ontology of relation. Priesthood should be considered, not in and for itself, but rather as a relational reality. To arrive at an adequate understanding of the gift of priestly grace, it should be seen in its eucharistic context and in its connection with ecclesial communion.

From The Church of the Triune God

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