"Renew in these your servants the covenant you made with them at Baptism. Send them forth in the power of that Spirit to perform the services you set before them ...."
The Book of Common Prayer, p. 418,
We are all called by God to be ministers.
This is the reality of Baptism. Every person baptized into the life of Christ is called to be an active participant in the ministry and the life of the church. And the life of the church doesn't start and end on Sunday mornings; it is a reality that should permeate every aspect of our lives.
All of us face the challenge of interpreting our faith and our church traditions. Not only must we understand our baptismal calling, we must learn how to express our ministry in the day-to-day circumstances we encounter. This is where the body of Christ plays a crucial role: we remind one another of the covenant we share; we encourage one another in times of difficulty; we comfort one another in times of suffering; we embody Christ for one another.
Sometimes, the Episcopal Church loses sight of the calling of its laity. Our congregations become clergy centered, making the priest(s) the arbiters of ministry. But this is not good for the church.
Our church rests on the principle that all are ministers. There is no magisterium that dictates orthodoxy, only a diocese in which lay and ordained members of the church partner with their bishop to guide our church into deeper communion with God.
This is why it is crucial to me, that every member of St. Margaret's recognize the grace of their call and the importance of their ministry. As the program year begins, there will be many opportunities for you to learn and to serve. I hope that you will seize every opportunity to deepen your understanding of faith and church, for we are the body of Christ. And every one of us is a minister of the Gospel.