2002 General Ordination Examination

January 1, 2002

Please review the General Instructions before you begin work on this set of questions and again when you put your answers in final form.

SET 1. Thursday, January 3, 2002, 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Set 1 addresses principally the canonical area of Liturgy and Church Music. Related canonical areas are Church History, Christian Theology, and Theory and Practice of Ministry.

OPEN BOOK

Who can be invited to receive communion in the Episcopal Church? Many parishes include in their service leaflets statements that invite "all baptized persons" or simply "everyone who wishes to do so" to receive communion.

A. In a statement of no more than six lines, draft an invitation that you think appropriate to be included in a Sunday service leaflet. Bear in mind the theological, canonical, pastoral, and ecumenical implications.

B. In an essay of three pages, give a rationale for the proposed invitation.

· How do the rubrics and canons inform the invitation?

· In what ways is Holy Baptism related to Holy Eucharist, according to the Book of Common Prayer 1979?

· How does the relationship of Confirmation to the reception of communion expressed in the BCP 1979 differ from earlier Anglican history and practice?

· Does the invitation to the reception of communion proposed in A (above) specifically include or exclude infants, small children, and mentally challenged persons? Explain the pastoral and practical considerations underlying the invitation.

 

SET 2. Thursday, January 3, 2002, 1:30 PM to 5:00 PM

Set 2 addresses principally the canonical area of Christian Theology. Related canonical areas are Holy Scripture and Studies in Contemporary Society.

OPEN BOOK

For this question you will prepare a presentation for an Adult Forum for the Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday, Year A. The Passion Gospel may be called a "violent" text. Write an essay of three pages on the theme of theology and violence.

A. Provide a brief analysis of the various expressions of violence in the following passage:

At the festival season it was customary for the governor to release one prisoner chosen by the people. There was then in custody a man of some notoriety, called Jesus Barabbas. When the people assembled Pilate said to them, "Which would you like me to release to you -- Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus called Messiah?" For he knew it was out of malice that Jesus had been handed over to him.
While Pilate was sitting in court a message came to him from his wife: "Have nothing to do with that innocent man; I was much troubled on his account in my dreams last night."
Meanwhile the chief priests and elders had persuaded the crowd to ask for the release of Barabbas and to have Jesus put to death. So when the governor asked, "Which of the two would you like me to release to you?" they said, "Barabbas." "Then what am I to do with Jesus called Messiah?" asked Pilate; and with one voice they answered, "Crucify him!" "Why, what harm has he done?" asked Pilate; but they shouted all the louder, "Crucify him!"
When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, and that there was danger of a riot, he took water and washed his hands in full view of the crowd. "My hands are clean of this man's blood," he declared. "See to that yourselves." With one voice the people cried, "His blood be on us and on our children." He then released Barabbas to them; but he had Jesus flogged, and then handed him over to be crucified.
Matthew 27:15-26, Revised EnglishBible

B. What is the relationship between God and violence in this passage? Incorporate in your answer insights drawn from the work of one theologian.

C. From the perspective of Christian theology, apply the views expressed in B (above) to a current issue of violence.

 

SET 3. Friday, January 4, 2002, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Set 3 addresses principally the canonical area of Christian Ethics and Moral Theology. Related canonical areas are Holy Scripture and Studies in Contemporary Society.

OPEN BOOK

This question addresses both theoretical and applied aspects of Christian Ethics and Moral Theology. Although it clearly has pastoral dimensions and implications, this is not a pastoral theology question.

Scientific news media have recently heralded the promise of "life-extending" technologies, such as approaches to the care of extremely premature infants, embryonic stem-cell research, cloning, genetic intervention, organ transplantation, totally implantable prosthetic hearts, and cryonics (deep freezing). The current wonder and enthusiasm for "life extension" now being generated by these technologies raise fundamental issues for Christian ethics and moral theology.

· Some persons in the church say that both western medical and Christian theological traditions authorize physicians and surgeons to intervene in order to treat conditions that are believed to be life-threatening or function-inhibiting. They argue that these newer technologies are not different in kind from ordinary and widely practiced drug and surgical therapies like antibiotics and appendectomies. Indeed, the same purpose is served. Hence, the new treatments are viewed as categorical imperatives. As evidence that the Bible affirms life, they cite passages like Deuteronomy 30:11-15, 19; Psalm 103:2-5; Proverbs 9:11; Sirach 38:1-23; Mark 8:36-37; and John 10:9-10.

· Others in the church contend that "artificial life-extension" construes vital human life as the summum bonum and denies both our right and our obligation to die. They say also that the technologies do not come cheap and that deciding who gets them and pays for them invites troublesome and divisive social policies. As examples of biblical teaching opposed to "artificial life-extension," they cite passages like Sirach 38:1-23; Romans 8:18; 1 Corinthians 12:14ff; Matthew 4:4; and Romans 14:8.

Members of your congregation ask you, as rector, "How should we consider life-extending technologies and therapies?" Remembering that Christian ethics and moral theology involve not only confronting quandaries and choices but also articulating moral vision, write a two-part response to the question.

A. In four pages, regarding an articulate moral vision: What are the moral-theological questions and issues that arise from this debate? Demonstrate how an articulate Christian moral vision can address them.

B. In two pages, regarding some practical implications: How should Christians respond to "life-extending" technologies? What are the various responsibilities (personal, corporate, et al.) attendant upon a choice to embrace or reject an intervention of this sort? What resources are available to educate parishioners for their ministries in these matters?

 

SET 4. Monday, January 7, 2002, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Set 4 addresses principally the canonical area of Holy Scripture.

LIMITED RESOURCES: Bible, Concordance, and Book of Common Prayer

The vocabulary of economics permeates Holy Scripture. Images of wealth and poverty often appear in the context of the central themes of Covenant and the Kingdom of God. Yet for a contemporary American Christian the proper place of material possessions in the life of faith is far from clear. This question asks for analysis of three biblical texts, to be brought to bear on the role of material wealth in Christian life.

Answer all four parts.

A. In two pages, answer the following questions about Deuteronomy 8:1-20:

1. In what ways does the context provided by Deuteronomy 5-9 illuminate the theological teaching about wealth in Deuteronomy 8:1-20? 2. In the light of your response to Question 1, what attitudes toward material wealth are present in this passage?

B. In two pages, answer the following questions about Mark 10:17-27:

1. In what ways does the context provided by Mark 9:35-10:31 illuminate this passage's theological teaching about wealth in Mark 10:17-27?
2. In the light of your response to Question 1, what attitudes toward material wealth are present in this passage?
3. How can Jesus' teaching about wealth in Mark 10:17-27 be related to Moses' teaching about wealth in Deuteronomy 8:1-20?

C. In one page, answer the following question about Psalm 112:

How is the understanding of material wealth in Psalm 112 complicated by what is written in Mark 10:17-27 and Deuteronomy 8:1-20?

D. Using your exegetical work, write a one-page reflection on the place of material wealth in Christian life.

Do not begin each part on a separate page. Triple space between parts (A, B, C, and D). Double space between paragraphs and between sections (1, 2, 3) of a part.

 

SET 5. Tuesday, January 8, 2001, 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Set 5 addresses principally the canonical area of Church History. A related area is Contemporary Society.

OPEN BOOK

>From the 1950s through the 1970s, many American denominations became embroiled in a number of social issues that were causing controversy in the nation as a whole. Among these were (1) civil rights, especially for African Americans; (2) full participation of women in American society; and (3) the legitimacy of protest against the Vietnam War, considered by many to be unjust.

In an essay of three pages, describe the ways in which Episcopalians and their church attempted to address one of the controversial issues listed above.

· Your essay should demonstrate a knowledge of significant events and activities both within the church and in the broader society.

· The essay should also consider how the Episcopal Church's history and the theological and institutional resources available in its tradition informed the church's efforts.

· To what degree did these efforts contribute to a resolution of the issue for the church?

· What areas of controversy or concern remain?

 

SET 6. Tuesday, January 8, 2002, 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

CLOSED BOOK

You may not use any outside references, printed, written, or electronic.

All the questions in Set 6 address the canonical area of Theory and Practice of Ministry. Answers to these questions will not affect the evaluation of the other six canonical area.

A. Allow one hour to respond in a few sentences each to all questions in Part A.

1. A parishioner says, "I've been asked to teach church school this year for the 10-12 age group. Each week they will study the Gospel texts to be read the next Sunday. I'm very uncomfortable doing so because I don't feel I know enough. What resources would you suggest so I will be prepared?"

2. A couple comes to you for pre-marital counseling. In the course of the conversation you learn that both have been married before. They want to know what, if anything, is required of them by canon law in order to be married in the Episcopal Church. What is your response?

3. What is the Episcopal Church's current position on the death penalty?

4. What is planned giving for the church?

5. The bishop has announced plans for making an annual visitation to your parish on December 28. Those responsible for various parish programs point out to you that it is a highly disruptive time for a visitation. They ask you to tell the bishop to skip his visitation to the parish this year. How would you respond to them?

6. You are the rector. A parishioner asks you to serve as his spiritual director. How would you respond?

7. What are some of the things we need to do if we expect the church to double in size by 2020?

8. The church treasurer says, "We need more members so that we can balance the budget." How would you respond?

Part B. Allow two hours for Part B, approximately one-half hour for each question.

1. You are the vicar of a small mission in a town where the population is shrinking. Most of the members are in their sixties or older. They worry about what will become of the congregation when they are gone. You decide to address the issue at a Sunday morning forum. What will you say? Why?

2. Several members of your parish are exploring vocations to the ordained ministry. Their time of discernment is enabling others to look at their own call to ministry. You decide to offer a once-a-week study program during Lent: Ministry According to the Book of Common Prayer. What topics would you cover? What resources would you use?

3. Your church school leader has for years been frustrated by the lack of participation by high school students in any educational program of the parish. He asks you, "How can we get them to come? Other churches have dynamic youth programs. What do they know that we don't know? What should we do?" How would you respond?

4. A parishioner asks, "Who is Jesus Christ to you?" State and explain your response in a brief essay.