Holy Orders is the Gift of Apostolic Succession
Apostolic Succession is the historic unbroken connection with Christ and His Apostles, by the “laying-on of hands”- (Acts 6:6, 1 Timothy 5:22) transferring Christ’s Apostolic authority and ministry from Jesus Himself, through His succeeding Overseers (bishops) of every proceeding generation, up until our current day. So we are part of the “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church” (the words of The Nicene Creed)
We recognize the “gift” of apostolic succession to the Church, and are celebrants of this ancient tradition (not doctrine), followed by our brothers and sisters of the past. Together, we are a part of a universal "Communion of Saints" (past and present followers of Jesus) united in God through Jesus Christ.
Greetings in the name of Jesus! We're glad you reached out to us today and we're grateful for your prayerful interest in considering Ordination with The Society. As you read further, please note that women are eligible for ordination in all Holy Orders described below.
Ordination in Historic Succession or "Holy Orders" is the rite in which God gives authority and the grace of the Holy Spirit to those who are being made bishops, priests, and deacons through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop. Each of the three-fold orders carry with it a unique ministry to serve God's people, the Church, and the community.
Deacons are called to a special ministry of servanthood directly under their bishop to serve all people; particularly the poor, the weak, the sick, and the lonely. Deacons interpret to the Church the needs, concerns, and hopes of the world.
A deacon is to study the Holy Scriptures, to seek nourishment from them, and to model their life upon them. Deacons are to make Christ and His redemptive love known, by word and example, to those among whom they live, and work, and worship.
They assist the bishop and priests in public worship and in the ministration of God’s Word and Sacraments, and carry out other duties assigned to them from time to time.
At all times, a deacon's life and teaching are to show Christ’s people that in serving the helpless they are serving Christ himself.
Transitional Deacons are preparing for ordination as a priest. Before being ordained as a priest, they are first ordained as a deacon and typically serve as a deacon for, at least, one year prior to their ordination as a priest.
Priests are called to work as a pastor, priest, and teacher, together with their bishop and fellow priests, and to participate in the councils of the Church. In the Society, the terms "presbyter" and "priest" are used interchangeably.
Priests are to proclaim by word and deed the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to fashion their life in accordance with its precepts. They are called to love and serve the people among whom they work, caring alike for young and old, strong and weak, rich and poor. Priests are to preach, to declare God’s forgiveness to repentant sinners, to pronounce God’s blessing, to share in the administration of Holy Baptism and in the celebration of the Eucharist, and to perform other ministrations entrusted to them.
In all they do, priests are to nourish Christ’s people from the riches of His grace, and strengthen them to glorify God in this life and in the life to come.