Priesthood in a ministering community : towards an ecclesiology for the Third Millennium

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


School of International, Cultural and Community Studies


Faculty of Education and Arts


Within the Anglican Communion a Ministering Community is where all the people of God, the baptised in a community of faith that gathers for worship each week, are the ministers. The people are the ministers by virtue of their baptism; each one being gifted by the Holy Spirit for the mission and ministry of the church in that place at that time. God will provide sufficient giftedness for that community at that time. There is no need to look outside of that community for ministry as thc entire ministry that is required is present within that community. Some people within the community will be gifted to lead people in worship and prayer, some in pastoral care, some in outreach and mission, some in education and teaching, and others to lead people in whatever other ministry that is required for that community at that time. There are various out-workings of what is a Ministering Community around the Anglican Communion; however, one of the common difficulties is the vexed question of the Theology of Priesthood in a Ministering Community. All the other roles of ministry leadership within a Ministering Community are often supported and encouraged amongst a wide range of theological viewpoints; however, the theology of Priesthood in a M inistering Community opens up a wide range of views and theological beliefs. I believe that the differences in theology stems from a misunderstanding of what priesthood is and how the theology of priesthood has developed over time since the New Testament. It is my contention that the Theology of Priesthood in a Ministering Community is ontologically the same as priesthood in a Christendom model of ministry, gathering, consecrating. breaking. blessing and absolving. There is, however, a difference of function betwcen Ministering Community Priesthood and Christendom Priesthood. Functionally a priest in a Ministering Community is not in charge, unlike a Rector or Vicar of a parish that is in charge of a cure. This thesis will endeavour to show that the difference between Christendom Priesthood and Ministering Community