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Foundational studies in the Episcopalian track toward ordination?
[Responding to an apiriant's letter]
You ask what I think should be foundational studies in the Episcopalian
track toward ordination.
I think anyone training for ministry needs to be doing ministry,
especially ministry with folks in the world not usually thought of as
accessible once people become ordained. This should be ministry WITH, not
TO. If one has not resisted thinking of lay folks as clients before one
is ordained, few will think of them as co-ministers once ordained.
See my advice to lesbigay aspirants at
Looking at the membership data, I would recommend studying intensely every
possible model of being the church outside of the museum business, outside
captivity to the 2 hours of Sabbath. Most modern folks live on schedules
that the Church does not accommodate well, especially those outside of the
middleclass. I would look closely at how store-front missions are
thriving at the very time main-line congregations dwindle.
I would look at ways to engage young persons: we lose most of them after
they leave high school: we're hostile to their culture; we patronize
them. We want them to tote crosses and wear vestments, but not to teach
us about their encounters with the holy. I am strongly urging General
Convention to create an Episcopal Youth Experience similar to the 2-year
commitment that young Mormons make, whereby people would commit to servant
ministry, in a structure that was loose but well managed, like a good
Roladex in a referral office.
Anyone training in ministry needs to spend much time in scripture, not
just in commentaries about it, scripture with the tremulo turned off,
scripture read with every IQ point engaged.
Anyone training in ministry needs to spend much time in prayer, often the
most silent kind, not talking to God, but listening, particularly when God
takes the same occasion, as She often does, just to listen to the silence
Persons training for ministry need to spend much time with their enemies
finding ways to love and serve them. How can one hope to lead others in
this calling without practicing it?
I suppose you can see why I am not likely to be asked to teach at a
May God keep working on us both.