Thursday, September 21, 2006

Ordination Papers - First Question

And away we go ...

1) What is the meaning of ordination, especially in the context of the general ministry of the church?

The sacrament of baptism is a gift from God and a means by which God’s grace enters the life of the baptized. It is also a ritual of initiation and incorporation into the Body of Christ, the Church, in which the each person responds to the gift through participation in the life of the church by their prayers, presence, gifts, and service. Ordination is another facet of that response. It is not a higher or better response, just a particular manifestation of an individual’s response to God’s freely given grace. In ordination, the church affirms outwardly the inward commitment to serving God as a leader of a local congregation or in another ministry setting. The church thereby invests people with authority over certain areas of church life, based on the recognition of that commitment. Within the overall ministry of the church, ordained people are leaders who preach, teach, administer the sacraments, articulate the vision of the community, nurture the spiritual health of individuals within the community, and provide for service for people in need.


Well, what do y'all think?

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Should voluntary clergy/leaders be ordained? What about Sunday School teachers? Why do certain people who ...

"preach, teach, administer the sacraments, articulate the vision of the community, nurture the spiritual health of individuals within the community, and provide for service for people in need"

... need to be ordained and others don't?

Anonymous said...

Kansas Bob and I are thinking along the same line. The only thing on that list that a committed lay person cannot do is administer the sacraments. To me, that is what gives ordination a special meaning and significance. cb

Anonymous said...

CB - I'm not sure what ordination has with the sacraments - I'd be interested in hearing more about that. In essence being ordained (I am ordained) is probably more about the US tax code than the bible.

Andy B. said...

Ordination is not as much about what you can or cannot do as it is about what you are. The ordained person is one who has been affirmed by the church in their own particular response to God's call. Yes, the church has many ways to affirm this call - of which ordination is one.

Anonymous said...

"Affirmed by the church" or by church leaders? My experience in signing ordination papers is that the church leaders (i.e. elders or bishops) sign the papers and church members do not have much input into the process. It may be different in other churches. I am interested in hearing about other experiences.

mandyc said...

"Ordination is not as much about what you can or cannot do as it is about what you are. The ordained person is one who has been affirmed by the church in their own particular response to God's call."

Interesting... While from your perspective this is the case, I wonder if that's how the people in the pews see it. As someone who is called to ministry yet cannot be ordained in the UMC, this is a very interesting questions. I will be a commissioned lay person, and to many people will not function any differently in the church than I already do, except that in commissioning there is a verbal and spiritual committment made to giving my professional life to God (as well as my spiritual life which was given in baptism and confirmation). While I see ordination as doing the same thing, I think it's interesting that the church makes a huge distinction between your life's work and mine. For me it is very much about what I can and cannot do - I will not be able to "do" communion if anyone should ask me. Do you think who/what you are is that different from who/what I am?? I'm not upset, but trying to help you see this question from another perspective. The affirmation of the church is a big thing here - who do they affirm and how and why? How much is who you are and how much how you answer their questions?

Andy B. said...

Hey deaconess - Thank you for that perspective, it is very helpful. It is a huge injustice that the UMC will not ordain you, but I don't think that is a counter to my definition of ordination. Ordination affirms gifts and invests authority.

Elizabeth said...

Hey Andy - I would guess that this response might be one you would get pushed on. Have you read Willimon's Pastor: A Theology of Ordained Ministry? It really helped me articulate my own understanding of ordination. In my conference, the BOOM tends to want a strong understanding of the difference between ordained ministry and other ministry, and I struggled with it for a while until the book helped give me some perspective.

St. Peter's UCC said...

Blogger is cranky, slow, and terrible... I've got to get my blog off of it...

In my experiences at St. Peter's and Wayzata Community Church in the Twin Cities, we talk about baptism as a simple recognition of grace already given, instead of "a means by which God's grace enters..." That makes more sense to me; how might a person control God's means?

I love the "ritual... of incorporation into the Body of Christ" - rad.

Seems like your def. of ordination is along the lines of how I think about baptism - outward sign of an inward reality (though the realities differ). -howie

hipchickmamma said...

i found your response to be very helpful. i just became certified and have not even dared to look at the big questions. this is an issue where i have a lot of trouble making a distinction.

btw
it was funny to find you this way rather through questions and rants. i was reading random revgalblogpals stuff and thought i should find out about the methodist blog ring. so i clicked on it and it took me to blogging methodists and your post. of course i was intrigued to see another missouri person and then to find it was you! (that was long, sorry 'bout that!)

have a wonderful thanksgiving!
(o)

Cindy Dy said...

Thank you for putting an effort to published this article. You've done a great job! Good bless!

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