Sunday, December 06, 2009

Changing face of Priesthood

On the Prodigal Kiwi site a few days ago there was a post in which Jemma Allen reflects on her first ten years as a priest, and looks at what's changed. The post starts with a list of points:

1. The changing face of priesthood (while she reflects on her journey, and it’s changes; the bigger picture is that the role of the priest has changed).
2. What distinguishes a priest when you take away the clerical clothing?
3. The importance of “time for you”; of time for the other.
4. The priority of listening, and of being with others (especially outside of a congregational contexts – Jemma is a University Chaplain).
5. What happens to priesthood when you take away what is regarded as a central function of priesthood – officiating at the Eucharistic table…? The role of priest as “gatherer” is often used to describe this function – they gather a congregation around the central act of worship. What happens to ones identity as "priest" when your context and activity is beyond the edges of a more traditional parish context? What function and role does priestly identity and gifting serve outside of the congregational context?
6. The importance of subverting cultural measures of effectiveness: “busyness” and “productivity”. The importance of offering an alternative way of being in the world.
7. The recognition (albeit, implicitly) that the cultural landscape has changed markedly. As Alan Roxburgh is fond of saying, we live in an “unthinkable world” and there is a need to see “with different eyes”. For me, this includes how we see the contemporary role of the priest, a role that is at once ancient and future, although in contemporary contexts too often the emphasis is on the “ancient” rather than on the “future” and the missional formation of priests.

The post continues with some further reflections on the priesthood - and the way in which, being a University Chaplain, her views of the priesthood have had to change. (Since these words were taken directly from Anna's own blog, I've given the link for that. You might just like to explore it a little fur)

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