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On the Priesthood

Greg Jones

Episcopalians affirm the ministry of all the baptized. Our polity is also deeply inclusive of laity in our leadership structure--at parochial, diocesan, and national levels. As such, however, it is important to remember that not all Christian ministries and leadership are necessarily the same. Neither are the particular forms of Christian ministry to be rooted in secular notions of leadership and authority. In this article, I explore the particular leadership identity and mission of presbyters and bishops. In the early church and continuing in the Anglican tradition, we affirm that presbyters and bishops are called to a ministry of pastoral leadership rooted in their primary identity and mission as leaders of the eucharistic community. The particular gifts and charisms of the priest and bishop are rooted in their work as gatherers of the eucharistic community, as proclaimers of the gospel, and as bearers of sacrament and blessing.

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