2003 General Ordination Examination

January 1, 2003

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. Friday, January 3, 2003, 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Set 1 addresses principally the canonical area of Liturgy and Church Music.


" The Holy Eucharist, the principal act of Christian worship on the Lord's Day and other major Feasts, and Daily Morning and Evening Prayer, as set forth in this Book, are the regular services appointed for public worship in this Church" (BCP, 13).?
" There was never any thing by the wit of man so well devised, or so sure established, which in continuance of time hath not been corrupted: as, among other things, it may plainly appear by the common prayers in the Church, commonly called Divine Service ..." (Preface to the First Book of Common Prayer [1549], BCP, 866).

A. In the light of these statements, write an essay of no more than two pages

1. tracing the origins and history of the Daily Offices prior to their incorporation in the Book of Common Prayer of 1549 (cite antecedents in Jewish as well as Christian practice); and
2. summarizing briefly the history of the use of the Daily Offices in the Church of England between the Reformation and the American Revolution, and in this country from the Colonial period to the present. How has our practice changed in light of the focus on the Holy Eucharist in the liturgical renewal of the 20th century as reflected in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer?

B. In an essay of one page answer the following:
What place can Morning and Evening Prayer have in the Episcopal Church today? Address the question with attention to:

  • the spiritual formation and nurture of members;
  • outreach to a diverse, largely secular and spiritually hungry society.

SET 2. Friday, January 3, 2003, 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Set 2 addresses principally the canonical area of Christian Theology.

LIMITED RESOURCES: Bible, Book of Common Prayer, The Hymnal 1982

“ Lord, you give the great commission,” Hymn 528, appears as the first hymn in the section “The Church’s Mission” in The Hymnal 1982. The text of this hymn expresses a rich theology of the church’s mission. In a three-page essay address the following:

A. The text of this hymn makes use of many biblical phrases and themes. Show how it
articulates the church’s mission. In your answer use the Bible and the Book of
Common Prayer as sources.

B. Given the global complexity of this pluralistic world, how does this hymn text inform
your own understanding of the church’s mission? Include in your answer the church’s
obligation to people of other faiths in light of the great commission.

SET 3. Saturday, January 4, 2003, 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Set 3 addresses principally the canonical area of Church History.


By the end of the reign of the Tudor monarchs, the reformation of the Church of England had eliminated a number of doctrines and practices considered to be “Romish.” Other such doctrines and practices, however, were kept, though sometimes in modified form. In subsequent periods—notably, perhaps, the first half of the seventeenth century and the second two-thirds of the nineteenth century—other Catholic elements were reclaimed or reintroduced and have remained as part of the Anglican ethos.

Choose three such Catholic elements still present in the Episcopal Church. At least one of your choices should be from the period of the English Reformation. In an essay of three pages:

A. Give an account of each one of your choices in the context of the time of its retention
or reintroduction. What were the reasons given for retaining or reintroducing it?
Was there opposition at the time, and if so, what was its nature?

B. Conclude your essay by assessing the significance of each of your choices in the
worship, polity, theology, spirituality or practice of the contemporary Episcopal

SET 4. Saturday, January 4, 2003, 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Set 4 addresses principally the canonical area of Contemporary Society.

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

General Convention 2000 passed Resolution B049 which, in one of its resolves, states:
“ That beginning February, 2001, the lay and ordained leadership of the Episcopal Church, including all ordained persons, professionals, and those elected or appointed to positions of leadership on committees, commissions, agencies and boards,be required to take anti-racism training and receive certification for such training.”

Among a range of possibilities, here are answers to three questions basic to anti-racism training:

  • What is Prejudice?
    “ preconceived judgment or opinion; an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge; . . . an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics .” (Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, 1983)
  • What is Racism?
    “ Racism is more than race prejudice. It is more than individual attitudes and actions. Racism is the collective actions of a dominant racial group. Systemic power turns race prejudice into racism. Racial prejudice becomes racism when one group’s racial prejudices are enforced by the systems and institutions of a society, giving power and privilege based on skin color to the group in power, and limiting the power and privilege of the racial groups that are not in power.” (Dismantling Racism: The Continuing Challenge to White America, Crossroads Ministry, 1991)
  • Who is a Racist?
    “All white individuals in our society are racists. Even if whites are totally free from all con scious racial prejudices, they remain racists, for they receive benefits distributed by a white society through its institutions. Our institutional and cultural processes are so arranged as to automatically benefit whites, just because they are white. It is essential for whites to recognize that they receive most of these racist benefits automatically, unconsciously, and unintentionally.”(Education and Racism, National Education Association, 1973)

A. In the light of the foregoing definitions, write an essay oftwo and a half pages describing the role the Episcopal Church has played and continues to play in perpetuating and/or combating institutional racism. As part of your essay, give at least three specific examples from your knowledge of the Episcopal Church and three from your own personal experience.

B. In an essay of one page,state what you believe the institutional church must do to eradicate racism within the church.


SET 5. Monday, January 6, 2003, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Set 5 addresses principally the canonical area of Holy Scripture.


Faithful members of the church often encounter conflict when weighing the authority of tradition against the prophetic conviction that God is creating something new. Similar tensions were present in the life of Israel and of the early church; Holy Scripture bears witness to the story of God’s people struggling to distinguish between the authority of tradition and the people’s experience of God acting in a new way. This question asks you to analyze two biblical texts in their historical and literary contexts and to bring your exegetical work to bear on the question of authority in the church today. Each part should be no more than two pages.

A. Joshua 24 is a pivotal text in the Hexateuch. How does this passage of scripture
contribute to an understanding of tradition and innovation? Be sure to address the
following in your response:

  • the placement of this text in the narrative of Israel’s history and in the Hexateuch;
  • the significance of verses 14-15;
  • what the people are being asked to give up;
  • the basis on which the people should respond to Joshua’s challenge to accept a new authority.

B. In I Corinthians 11:17-34 Paul alludes to the authority of tradition in order to teach
members of the Corinthian church that their factions at the Lord's Supper bring
judgment against them. What contribution does this text make to an understanding
of tradition and innovation? Please address the following in your response:

  • the overall problem with which Paul is wrestling in I Corinthians, and its specific manifestation in Chapter 11;
  • what the people are being asked to give up;
  • the function of verses 23-26 in Paul’s argument;
  • why the people should change their behavior.

C. Using your exegetical work on Joshua 24 and I Corinthians 11:17-34, write a two-
page essay on the authority of tradition in the Christian life.

SET 6. Tuesday, January 7, 2003, 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Set 6 addresses principally the canonical area of Christian Ethics and Moral Theology.


“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars …”
(Matthew 24:6)

Hearing of wars and rumors of wars has been unfortunately frequent since these words were written. Christian moral response to war has taken different forms, expressed most notably, perhaps, in the just war theory and the pacifist tradition. In a total of three pages:

A. Define each of these traditions, supporting your response with references to scripture
and to at least two theologians in each case. Your response should include the
reasons for the development of the just war theory and its subsequent evolution, as
well as the origins of pacifism and how that tradition developed over time.

B. Assess the applicability of each tradition as a moral response to war for Christians in
the 21st century.

C. Write a brief prayer to be used in times of war in Form V of the Prayers of the People
(BCP, 389-91). The prayer should reflect your conclusions in Part B above.

Note: (1) Although discussions of war are always imbedded in politics, the question asks that you emphasize moral assessments. (2) Remember to focus on the topic of war and not on violence in general.

SET 7. Tuesday, January 7, 2003, 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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

Set 7 addresses principally the canonical area of Theory and Practice of Ministry.

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

1. A parishioner tells you, “I have been asked to offer my name in nomination for the diocesan Standing Committee. What is it? What does it do?” How would you respond?

2. The vestry must decide whether or not to purchase a new pipe organ. The group is divided and someone suggests calling a parish meeting and putting the matter to a vote. How would you respond? What are the reasons for your response?

3. Some older members of the congregation remember the days when the rector dropped by parishioners’ homes on a regular basis, and they wonder why the clergy no longer make pastoral calls. How would you respond in terms of the practice of pastoral care?

4. A parishioner asks, “Can I talk to you in confidence?” What are the key issues of confidentiality?

5. An acolyte asks, “Why do you put ashes on my forehead on Ash Wednesday when the gospel says anoint your head and wash your face?” How would you explain the contradiction?

6. In parishes throughout a given diocese there may be differences in the practice of taking communion to people in nursing homes, hospitals, private homes, and prisons. What are the national canonical standards that should be followed?

7. A parishioner who serves on the finance committee comes to you with a complaint. “Why should the committee start its work with Bible study when the day is already a long one before we arrive? Besides, we are here to do finances, not Bible study.” What response do you offer?

8. You serve a congregation that has only a men's and boys’ choir. A relatively new member asks how that can be justified in light of the call for equality of men and women in the church. How would you respond?

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

1. Describe the inquirers’ class you would offer for people wanting to know
more about the Episcopal Church.

2. You have become the rector of a parish where giving is considerably lower than is usually found in a church of that size and economic status. You know there has been no emphasis on stewardship for many years. How would you address stewardship with your congregation? What steps would you take to implement your program?

3. A large number of Latino families attend the congregation in which you serve.
Both they and other members want to consider ministry that would include adding
a Spanish-speaking member to the staff and offering worship in Spanish. What
tensions would you anticipate in the congregation’s life? How might they be

4. You are a member of a clergy study group. You agree to explain how you prepare
a sermon. What would you say?