Taking Our Place in Ministry
I truly love the Book of Common Prayer. The beautiful thing about our Prayerbook is that it is accessible. Everyone can read it together sharing in the “formulas” of our faith. One part which I like is the “Catechism” at the end of the Prayerbook.
On page 855 under “The Ministry” it details what the ministry of the laity is. It reads, “ The ministry of lay persons is to represent Christ and his Church; to bear witness to him wherever they may be; and, according to the gifts given them, to carry on Christ’s work of reconciliation in the world; and to take their place in the life, worship, and governance of the Church.”
As a newly ordained person I currently find that I am firm on one thing — ministry is NOT just for the ordained. As a person who is to be ordained a priest in the late fall, I believe in the priesthood of all believers, the ministry of all baptized. I was called to be a priest to raise up the God-given gifts in all whom I shall be ministering to.
In pre-reformation England guilds were everywhere in the life of the Church. There were guilds for things from farming and baking to repairing and singing. Each member of a parish completely gave themselves to a particular ministry within a guild. While we in the Church have moved away from this system, I in my ordained ministry, endeavor to recapture the vibrancy of this old but still effectual model of ministry. Incredibly we all have ministries whether we discern it or not.
Each of us is somehow called to, “take our place in the life, worship, and governance of the Church”. Let us never fall into believing that it is only the ordained who have gifts for ministry. Instead let us be ever-mindful of the gifts from our hearts which, wherever we are, bear witness to Christ in all things.
May God bless each of you.