An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

A - Z Glossary

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One who shares in the ministry of the church. The ministers of the church are lay people, bishops, priests, and deacons (BCP, p. 855). Christian ministry is based in baptism, and the promises of the baptismal covenant (BCP, pp. 304-305). All Christian ministers are to represent Christ and his church. Each order of ministry has a distinctive role in the church's ministry. Each minister of the church is called to use his or her own distinctive gifts to share in the work of ministry. In the Prayer Book rubrics, the term indicates a person who leads liturgical prayer. A liturgical minister in the Episcopal Church may be a lay person or a member of the clergy. For example, in the Ash Wednesday service, "the Celebrant or Minister appointed" reads the exhortation inviting the people to the observance of a holy Lent (BCP, p. 264). At the Holy Eucharist, after the bidding to confession is said by the deacon or celebrant, and after a period of silence, the "Minister and People" say the general confession (BCP, p. 360). In both of these examples, the minister may be a lay person or a member of the clergy. In many Protestant denominations, the term is applied exclusively to members of the clergy.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.