Friday, September 4, 2009

Speaking the Call to Ministry to One Another

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Speaking the Call to Ministry to One Another: A re-visioning of the Chrism Mass Holy Week liturgy, with bishop, clergy, and laypeople. Where might we go with the Maundy Thursday Chrism Mass and Reaffirmation of Ordination Vows? Donald Schell writes of twenty-five years experience of the ‘Chrism Mass’ and Renewal of Ordination Vows in Holy Week, valuing the experience for its collegiality and but also wondering how diocesan and cathedral liturgies for this event, shaped when the 1979 Prayer Book was new, could be reframed to give clergy and laity in Holy Week opportunity to celebrate and nurture their shared call to service and the servanthood in friendship that Christ commands in John’s Gospel.

1 comment:

Elizabeth Morris said...

Thank you, Donald, for helping us start to rethink this question.

In dioceses where travel distances to the cathedral/diocesan center are great, Holy Week is, IMHO, not the best time for reaffirmation of vows, especially for clergy in congregations that observe a full schedule of liturgies in that holy time. Add four hours of travel time (sometimes each way), and what is intended as joyous and spiritually enriching becomes a burden.

When reaffirmation is done as part of clergy conference, the clergy are simply talking to themselves!! (Yeah, God is overhearing it all, but the Body of Christ is sadly incomplete.) Diocesan convention seems a good time to reaffirm the commitment of ALL the people to their ministries. The downside of this is that this context doesn't readily enable the kind of conversation about ministry which you so alluringly describe!

As for the blessing of oils, the BCP suggests that the bishop bless baptismal chrism in the congregation -- a practice which enables the congregation to glimpse the connections between the Body of Christ in that place and the bishop. And we seem to have a fair number of priests who do not realize that they may bless the oil of the sick.

Elizabeth Morris Downie