In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus’ ministry is described as “teaching in synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.” That is what he does throughout the gospel stories: teaches, proclaims the good news, heals. That is what we, as the body of Christ, are to continue to do: teach, proclaim, and heal.
To be sure, the three functions are inextricably connected in the life and work of Jesus and they are intertwined in our life and work as the Body of Christ. In this issue of the Messenger, you will get a sense of the focused and intentional movement of the Spirit about our ministry of teaching—forming disciples to be the body of Christ for the world of the twenty-first century.
At the center of this work is the School for Ministry, a place anchored in the Episcopal Church Center with its multiple servant ministries. We are forming deacons, priests, and lay leaders for today’s church. Through the hard work of the Rev. Simon Mainwaring, Ph.D., academic dean of the school and the Rev. Martha Anderson, who serves as the head of worship and formation on Executive Council, an excellent faculty has been recruited and classes are underway.
As your bishop, I take seriously my role as the chief teacher of the faith within the community. And so, this semester I am teaching the survey course, Vocation of the Deacon. I plan to teach one course per semester.
My encouragement to all is to be attentive to your own lifelong work of learning about Jesus and the faith once delivered. Be active in growing as a disciple. Perhaps the School for Ministry is calling you to, as Philip said to Nathaniel, “Come and see!”
Our hope is that beyond this first year, the School will help us grow as a learning diocese as we discover and share the talents that each of us has to offer to the life and mission of the church. +
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