Friday, January 01, 2010

Answers to Common Ministry Questions

The questions were posed by Grace Church members on August 2, 2009. The answers were developed by the Grace Church Common Ministry Committee.

What is the definition of Common Ministry? Common ministry is a collaborative ministry, shared equally by all in the faith community. It holds the vision that all are united in the body of Christ, each with special gifts and unique ministries and all share in the Church’s work of reconciling the world to God.

What are some of the existing models of Common Ministry churches? Models of Common Ministry or Total Ministry as it is sometimes called have been done in Michigan, California, Tennessee and Virginia, just to name a few.

How do we create the correct list of functions needed to keep the congregation together?  There is no “correct” list. We keep together through praying, worshipping and working together.

How is the Common Ministry team formed? Who’s in charge and how are they elected?  The team is formed by the congregation through a discernment and gifts assessment.

How does the discernment process work? A facilitator assigned by the Diocese will help us.

How are priests raised from the congregation?  Can a congregation raise more than one priest?  Are there any age qualifications for priests?  Can the Bishop ordain a deacon to become a priest in a Common Ministry church? No priests may be raised from the congregation. Priests must be seminary trained and go through the regular diocesan process for becoming a priest

What are the track records of other churches that have used Common Ministry? It is similar to those who are not a Common Ministry church.

Is Common Ministry just for poor churches?  No! Shared authority for ministry is applicable to any and every congregation, from the smallest to the largest.

What Diocesan support is available if we want to explore Common Ministry? The Diocese has invited us to participate in the pilot program which will include a focused set of conversations about Common Ministry. To assist in this conversation the Diocese has received a grant from the Jessie Ball DuPont Fund.

If we become a Common Ministry church, will we ever hire professional clergy again? We can if we want and have the financial resources to do so.

Can the church grow in a Common Ministry model? Yes!

Will we be able to have Eucharist every Sunday?  Yes, if we have the financial resources to so. We also have the opportunity to experiment with other types of services.

During the interim period, how can we do weddings and funerals? Weddings can be done by anyone licensed by the state. For Episcopalians that is usually a priest. Funerals can be done by lay ministers if there is no Eucharist.

Carol Lyon, 1/1/2010

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