Forward by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York
“In the name of our Lord we bid you remember the greatness of the trust that is now to be committed to your charge.”
The solemn reminder about trust that is in the Ordinal confronts all the ordained with the privilege and responsibility entailed in their particular ministry. We know that the Church of God expects high standards, but it also remains true that society at large expects high standards of the clergy. This is true of both those who profess faith in Jesus Christ and those who do not. A failure in meeting the standard expected results in profound disappointment, and a deep sense of being let down.
Yet setting such standards can also be a source for over-anxiety about how we can live up to them.
These Guidelines for the Professional Conduct of the Clergy are therefore a source of counsel, advice and comfort. We are all sinners who stand in need of redemption, yet we follow Jesus Christ who brings that redemption. We proclaim the gospel of hope, and are called to underpin all that we do with prayer.
The care of souls and the proclamation of the gospel are demanding roles, but profoundly fulfilling. If we are to be effective we need to take proper care to refresh our learning and to refresh ourselves. There will always be the challenge of getting the balance right, but these guidelines encourage us to do just that.
We remain deeply thankful to God for the faithfulness we see demonstrated so often in the ordained ministry of our Church. Please be assured of our prayers for you. Remember the source of any strength that we find.
“You cannot bear the weight of this calling in your own strength, but only by the grace and power of God. Pray therefore that your heart may be daily enlarged and your understanding of the Scriptures enlightened. Pray earnestly for the gift of the Holy Spirit.”