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.
The fundamental ministry of each baptized Christian is not what one does in the church. Instead, it is the way in which you live into your baptismal promises in the world. In your daily life and work, in interactions with family and friends, as you bear witness to Christ, working to reconcile people to God in their neighbor, you are fulfilling your baptized ministry. After that, each baptized Christian is also called to take her or his place in the life, worship, and governance of the church.
FOR THE DIACONATE
The ministry of a deacon is to represent Christ and his Church, particularly as a servant to those in need; and to assist bishops and priests in the proclamation of the Gospel and administration of the sacraments.
Deacons are models of servant ministry within the church, inviting the church out to meet the needs of the world. They are a full and ancient order, established first by the Apostles in the book of Acts to assist with the distribution of food to those in need.
FORMATION FOR THE DIACONATE
The Academy for Vocational Leadership is a three-year local formation program, a collaboration between the Dioceses of Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, and Michigan. As part of the Iona Collaborative, a curriculum and program developed by the Seminary of the Southwest, we are able to train individuals for Holy Orders affordably and nearby.
In most cases, deacons in our diocese are trained locally through the Academy for Vocational Leadership. Learn more about the Academy, including the application and dates for the upcoming school year on the Coppage-Gordon School for Ministry page.
FOR THE PRIESTHOOD
The ministry of a priest is to represent Christ and his Church, particularly as pastor to the people; to share with the bishop in the overseeing of the Church; to proclaim the Gospel; to administer the sacraments, and to bless and declare pardon in the name of God.
Priests are called to serve those within the church. They function as pastors to the community of the baptized. They have a role of authority and oversight with regard to the ministry of Christ in a congregation, a role that is derived from the bishop’s role as chief pastor in a diocese. They also proclaim the Good News of God in Christ, administer the sacraments, and pronounce God’s blessing and God’s absolution. Those called to the priesthood are leaders with hearts for equipping and empowering the baptized members of the church for their ministry.
In Eastern Michigan, formation for the priesthood usually takes place one of two ways – through an Episcopal seminary or locally, through the Academy for Vocational Leadership – a ministry of the Coppage-Gordon School for Ministry. Click here to learn about seminaries in the Episcopal Church. Click here to learn about the Academy. At times, the bishop may authorize an alternative path to ordination. Those alternatives may be discussed with the bishop or Commission on Ministry.