Most often people are ordained first as Deacon and then a year later as Priest – but there is growing interest in the ‘distinctive diaconate’. (see www.dace.org for more information)
A priest (also known as presbyter) represents Christ and his Church in a particular way, through a ministry of teaching, preaching, celebration of the sacraments and pastoral care. It is a ministry of leadership and mission, enabling all Christian people to share the Good News in their everyday lives.
But priesthood is not just about doing, but about being. Through the lives they lead, priests point to Jesus and encourage people to show love and compassion and to build the Kingdom of God. As they do this, priests share in people’s joys and sorrows as they walk with them on their journey through life.
In the Ordination Service, the bishop says these words which express the heart of the ministry of a priest: ‘Priests are called to be servants and shepherds among the people to whom they are sent. With their Bishop and fellow ministers, they are to proclaim the word of the Lord and to watch for the signs of God’s new creation’.