Anglican 101: What is a priest?

Restoration tends to be a pretty informal group of people so we don’t always use titles when talking about our clergy (ordained ministers) but last night we gained two new priests. Some of you may be familiar with the term priest and others of you may have questions about what a priest is and does, especially in an Anglican church.

A priest is one of three ordained roles in the Anglican church: deacon, priest, and bishop. Each role requires a lengthy process of discernment and preparation before a candidate is finally ordained and last night marked the culmination of a multi-year process for both Nobie Hendricks and Kolby Kerr.

In short, a priest is responsible for the pastoral leadership of a church. Priest is heavy word, loaded with centuries of meaning. You may immediately think of the priests in the Old Testament who offered burnt sacrifices to God but we are New Testament Christians who believe that Jesus made the final sacrifice so no other sacrifices are needed. Thankfully Anglican priests offer Eucharist, or thanksgiving and praise, and not animal sacrifices.

A priest is also known as a presbyter or a shepherd of the church. In English we developed another term for someone who shepherds God’s people, a pastor. Depending on your denominational background you may be much more comfortable referring to a pastor than a priest which is perfectly fine since they are essentially the same term.

In the Anglican tradition you will sometimes hear priests called “Father” or “Mother.” In fact, we could speak of each of our priests as Father Jed, Father Kolby, and Mother Nobie, though I would ask each of them what they prefer first. We use these titles in order to acknowledge their spiritual leadership as they model the teachings of Jesus for us with authority and love for the whole Restoration congregation.

Welcome Nobie and Kolby over the next few weeks as you see them step into their new role in the life of Restoration. Pray that they would build up the body of Restoration, faithfully minister communion and baptism to the people of God, boldly preach the Gospel, and minister to all who need to experience the grace of Jesus embodied in a loving pastor.