The Three-fold ordained ministry in the Catholic Tradition
Bishops preach the Word, preside at the sacraments, and administer discipline in such a way as to be representative of pastoral ministry of oversight, continuity ,and unity in the Church. They have pastoral oversight of the area to which they are called they serve the apostolicity and unity of the Church’s teaching, worship and sacramental life. They have responsibility for leadership in the Church’s mission. They serve as the Presiding Officer of the Synod/Diocese. They relate the Christian community in their area to the wider Church, and the universal Church to their community. They, in communion with the presbyters and deacons and the whole community, are responsible for the orderly transfer of ministerial authority in the Church.
Presbyters serve as pastoral ministers of Word and sacraments in a local eucharistic community. They are preachers and teachers of the faith, exercise pastoral care, and bear responsibility for the discipline of the congregation to the end that the world may believe and that the entire membership of the Church may be renewed, strengthened and equipped in ministry. Some presbyters serve in non-parochial or specialized ministries outside of a congregation or religious order. Presbyters have particular responsibility for the preparation of members for Christian life and ministry. They enable all the baptized to fufill their priestly calling in baptism.
Deacons represent to the Church its calling as servant in the world. By struggling in Christ’s name with the myriad needs of societies and persons, deacons exemplify the interdependence of worship and service in the Church’s life. They exercise responsibility in the worship of the congregation: for example by reading the scriptures, preaching and leading the people in prayer. They help in the teaching of the congregation. They exercise a ministry of love within the community. They fulfill certain administrative tasks and may be elected to responsibilities for governance.
Process for Ordination/Transfer or Affirmation of Ordination in the ACCA
Every ordained person is expected to be in an Active, Accountable, Authorized ministry in the church. These shall be renewed annually by the Office of the Bishop or the delegate in this area.
Step One: Membership in a local congregation
Become a member of a local congregation. Becoming a part of the community and ministry of a local congregation prepares one for the unique calling to minister within this theologically diverse communion. A minimum of six months of membership at a local congregation is recommended before an endorsement is made to become a candidate for ordination. The endorsement must come from the local congregation.
Step Two: Attend a Diocesan Council Ministry Orientation.
This orientation is the point of entry for all persons who want to be ordained/transfer credentials in the diocese. During this orientation Diocesan Council members will meet with you to assess your ministry profile and make specific recommendations about your next steps to become clergy in the Diocese by creating a Ministry Action Plan (MAP).
Step Three: Meet Diocesan Educational Requirements
At the Diocesan Council Ministry Orientation your educational preparation will be evaluated. Typically transfer clergy who come to the diocese have already completed the Masters of Divinity degree or the equivalent in education and experience. If one is seeking ordination, an Masters of Divinity degree is the preferred degree in the Diocese. The completion of a Denominational Course of Studies will be route of preparation for the majority of candidates for ordination. A candidate must obtain theological education before ordination. In an addition to these educational requirements all persons who are ordained in the Diocese must complete History, Theology and Polity of our communion and other studies that reflect our unique charism of being inclusive, multiracial and embracing liberation theology.
Step Four: Apply for an ordination interview.
Upon completion of steps one through three, obtain the ordination interview application, complete it and send it in to the Office of the Bishop.
Clergy not ordained into apostolic succession.
Candidates for who have been previously ordained in another communion who are not ordained by a church within the historic episcopate are considered “transfer clergy” and must meet the general requirements for credentials /affirmation of ordination as indicated above. We recognize that these individuals often come to our communion with extensive education and ministerial experience. Such individuals must be given an opportunity to understand diocesan polity and practice, and the communion must also be given the opportunity to know the candidate. The Diocese only recognizes ordination that includes the laying on of hands by a bishop in the historic episcopate. Therefore, transfer clergy must apply to the Office of the Bishop or the delegated representative and serve a minimum of one year of supervised practice in a diocesan congregation . They will be ordained as deacon, and serve six months as deacon before ordination to the priesthood.
Clergy ordained into apostolic succession.
Candidates for who have been previously ordained in another communion who are ordained by a church within the historic episcopate are considered “transfer clergy” and must meet the general requirements for credentials /affirmation of ordination as indicated above. The Diocese recognizes that these individuals often come to our communion with extensive education and ministerial experience. Such individuals must be given an opportunity to understand diocesan polity and practice, and the communion must also be given the opportunity to know the candidate. The Diocese only recognizes ordination that include the laying on of hands by a bishop in the historic episcopate. Therefore, transfer clergy must apply to the Diocese and serve a minimum of one year of supervised practice in a diocesan congregation. Upon completion of all requirements, these individuals will have their previous ordination affirmed by the diocese and will received into the diocese as a deacon or priest.