2004 General Ordination Examination

January 1, 2004


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: Christian Theology Monday, January 5, 2004, 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. LIMITED RESOURCES: Annotated, non-electronic one-volume Bible, (e.g., Oxford Annotated Bible, HarperCollins Study Bible); Book of Common Prayer In a single, three-page essay on the significance of Jesus’ resurrection, cover the following three questions:

  • Why is Jesus’ resurrection such a central tenet of the Christian faith?
  • In face of the reality of death, what is the meaning of Jesus’ resurrection for us?
  • How do you understand the church’s pastoral intention in the following words from the Committal Service: “In sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ, we commend to Almighty God our brother N.; and we commit his body to the ground; earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust…” (BCP, 501)

Set 2: Liturgy and Church Music Monday, January 5, 2004, 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. LIMITED RESOURCES: Annotated, non-electronic one-volume Bible, (e.g., Oxford Annotated Bible, HarperCollins Study Bible); Book of Common Prayer; The Hymnal 1982; and other ECUSA authorized liturgical and musical texts (e.g., Enriching Our Worship; Lift Every Voice and Sing; Wonder, Love and Praise) Anglican theology historically finds its expression in the liturgies of the church. The liturgies for the ordinations of bishop, priest and deacon each have distinctive characteristics. This question will focus on “The Ordination of a Priest” (BCP, 525-535). In a three-page essay address the following:

A. The Examination of the candidate found in “The Ordination of the Priest” (BCP, 531-532) reflects the church’s theology of ordination to the priesthood. Show how the text of the Examination articulates a coherent theology of the priesthood.

B. How do each of the following sections of the liturgy of the ordination of a priest, as found in the Book of Common Prayer, reflect the church’s understanding of priesthood?

  • The Presentation
  • The Ministry of the Word (In this section, follow the rubrics in BCP, 528-529, for choosing three lessons, with appropriate selection of psalms, canticles or hymns; and state the reasons for your choices.)
  • The Bishop's Prayer of Consecration of the Priest
  • The Postcommunion Prayer
  • The Blessing

SET 3: Church History Tuesday, January 6, 2004, 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. OPEN BOOK The Church of England and the American Episcopal Church both arose as independent ecclesiastical bodies in the midst of tumultuous political circumstances. These circumstances had a strong influence on the ways in which authority was conceived and executed in each church.

A. Explain how the origins of each church were shaped by the national and international politics of their times and how each of these “new” churches was affected by the relationship of “church” and “state.” For the Church of England (COE), focus on the reign of Henry VIII; for the Episcopal Church (EC), focus on the first decade or so of the American nation following the winning of independence from Britain (roughly 1783-93). Pay particular attention to the issue of “establishment” and to the relative authority of bishops, priests, and laity in church governance as they emerged in each case.

B. In the longer run, what have been some of the advantages and disadvantages of these issues of establishment of religion and the roles of the three orders – bishops, priests, and laity - for the vitality of these two churches, especially as they exist today?

Note: In Part A give roughly equal attention to the EC and the COE; in Part B, be sure to present at least one advantage and one disadvantage in each church of establishment of religion and the roles of clerical orders. Your response should be about three pages in length.

Set 4: Contemporary Society Tuesday, January 6, 2004, 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. LIMITED RESOURCES: Annotated, non-electronic one-volume Bible (e.g., Oxford Annotated Bible, HarperCollins Study Bible); Book of Common Prayer; The Hymnal 1982;and other ECUSA authorized liturgical and musical texts (e.g., Enriching Our Worship; Lift Every Voice and Sing; Wonder, Love and Praise).

Throughout the Bible, land is understood in at least three principal ways: one, as belonging to God alone; two, as a living part of creation; three, as a significant resource to God’s people for the care of the whole community and especially the poor.

Members of a congregation, regardless of its location, are sometimes confronted with making appropriate decisions regarding the use of land. Congregations are not neutral parties to such decisions since these may directly affect membership in terms of numbers and the social, economic and ethnic make-up of this membership. Holy Scripture, along with the Book of Common Prayer, Enriching Our Worship and the various hymnals, are among the primary theological resources for those who must make choices on such issues.

From your perspective as a rector or vicar and using the following case, write a lead article for your parish newsletter summarizing briefly your theology of the land and supporting one of the land use options. Draw on one or more of the citations from Scripture listed below; you may also choose to use references from the prayer book, hymnals and your experience to support your theology and your position, while recognizing other points of view. The total length of your response should be about three pages.

The Case The local government is about to decide whether an open tract of land near your church be developed for a public park or be developed for high density, low and moderate income housing. As in many communities, affordable housing is a serious concern of the residents and of elected officials. There is also no park that serves this area.

Scripture Citations (refer to at least one): Genesis 1:9-13 (The Creation of the Earth) Leviticus 25:1-7, 21 (Sabbath of the Land) Deuteronomy 26:5-11 (Land of Milk and Honey) 1 Kings 21: 1-16 (Naboth’s Vineyard)

Set 5: Holy Scripture Thursday, January 8, 2004, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. LIMITED RESOURCES: Annotated, non-electronic one-volume Bible, (e.g., Oxford Annotated Bible, HarperCollins Study Bible); a concordance. Luke’s Gospel is framed by references to Jesus as a prophet. In the opening scene of his public ministry, Jesus alludes to himself as a prophet (Luke 4:24). At the end of the gospel, in his first resurrection appearance, two followers walking on the road to Emmaus call Jesus “a prophet mighty in deed and word” (Luke 24:18). This examination asks you to analyze Luke 4:14-30 and reflect on the prophetic ministry of Jesus. Address, in six pages, the following:

A. Place the pericope of Jesus in the synagogue in Nazareth (Luke 4:14-30) in the context of the Gospel according to Luke.

B. How was Isaiah 61:1-4 good news in its original historical context?

C. In Luke 4:22, after Jesus reads Isaiah 61:1-2 and comments on it, the people speak well of him, but then in Luke 4:28-29 they are filled with rage and attempt to kill him. What causes this dramatic shift?

D. In what ways does this pericope (Luke 4:14-30) present Jesus as a prophet? How does this portrayal of Jesus resonate with other allusions to Jesus as prophet in the gospel as a whole?

E. How does Luke’s portrait of Jesus as prophet contribute to your understanding of the prophetic role of Christian ministry?

Set 6: Christian Ethics and Moral Theology Friday, January 9, 2004, 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. OPEN BOOK The seventeenth century was a rich and fruitful time for the development of a distinctive Anglican moral theology. During that period, a number of learned clergy known historically as the Caroline Divines made significant contributions to its development.

Following is a description of their conception of the nature and function of moral theology:

They saw it as a comprehensive science adequate to lead a heedful society in the ways of justice and the individual Christian in the path of holiness: as including not only casuistry and the resolution of difficult cases of conscience, but also the whole range of what is sometimes thought of separately as ascetic theology: not a legalistic system but a body of teaching, commended within a pastoral setting, that would help persons in all circumstances of life to grow in grace and "guide them safely in their walk with God to life eternal" (Baxter).

--"Anglican Moral Theology/Ethics," The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Ethics, ed. James Childress and John Macquarrie (Philadelphia: the Westminster Press, 1986), 24

In a three-page essay:

A. Identify and describe distinctive elements of Caroline moral theology, including its close association with ascetical theology. Demonstrate how these elements are expressed by at least three Caroline Divines.

B. Demonstrate how historical and theological contexts shaped Caroline moral theology’s emphasis on individual conscience formed by ecclesial catechesis.

C. Show clearly and explicitly how the distinctive elements of Caroline moral theology and ascetic theology can be incorporated into the educational responsibilities of a parish priest today.

Set 7: Theory and Practice of Ministry Friday, January 9, 2004, 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. CLOSED BOOK

Note: Each question calls for a response of approximately a half-page, for a total of three pages.

A. In an adult discussion group centered on defining the ministry of all the baptized, the question of diaconal ministry comes up. “I’m confused,” says one participant. “When we talk about ‘diaconal ministry’ or ‘servanthood’, are we referring to the ministry of ordained deacons or to that of the laity? What’s the difference?” How would you answer such questions?

B. Members of the youth group in the congregation you serve are going on a weeklong mission trip, accompanied by their youth leaders. The parents ask you, as the rector, to tell them what policies and procedures are in place to insure the welfare of the group. Give an outline of the parish’s policies and procedures in this situation.

C. Some parishioners in the parish where you are rector have complained to the vestry about the hymns following the appointment of a new music director. At a vestry meeting, the vestry asks you to explain how hymns and other music in the service are chosen. What is your response?

D. You are the rector of a parish that has sponsored a popular young woman in her application for postulancy. That application has been turned down by the Commission on Ministry and the bishop. The applicant is upset, as are the members of the congregational Vocations Committee and many other parishioners. How do you address their concerns?

E. As an advocate for prison ministry, you frequently address congregations in the diocese. In follow-up discussions, people often ask you how a priest can recognize real repentance in an incarcerated person. “Aren’t many of them con artists?” “How can you tell it’s not just jail-house faith?” How do you respond to such questions?

F. An elderly parishioner, who has lived alone with his dog ever since the death of his wife five years ago, calls to tell you that the dog has been diagnosed with cancer. He asks you to come lay hands on the dog and to anoint the dog for healing. How would you address this situation, and what reasons would undergird your actions?