These guidelines are not meant to be a burden, nor do they pretend to be complete. They should help the clergy discover and experience how great is the freedom to which they are called and the joy that the gift of an ordained life brings. We are to remember the injunction of St Paul to be “happy in the Lord at all times” and to rejoice always in his abiding presence.
We recognize, too, that we are not alone, that we cannot do all these things by ourselves in our own strength, but only by the grace of God and through the power of his Spirit working in and through us; for as the Prayer Book Ordinal puts it, in the Declaration to those being ordained to the office of priest, we are called to “apply ourselves wholly to this one thing and to draw all our cares and studies this way” and that we will “continually pray to God the Father, by the mediation of our only Saviour Jesus Christ, for the assistance of the Holy Ghost”.
So we pray that our lives may be sanctified to this end, for the sake of those whom we seek to serve. For the ordained life of a bishop, a priest or a deacon, for whom these guidelines are designed, is indeed of “what dignity and of how great importance”, but also of “so great excellency and so great difficulty” that we all need help and encouragement along the way – and it is in that spirit that the Guidelines are offered.
So it is our prayer that, by our lives and in our work, through all we do and by what we are called to be, we may honour God’s holy name and be faithful to the vocation he has given us, that his salvation may be proclaimed in all the world. May we be found worthy of our calling!
Prebendary David Houlding
Pro-Prolocutor of the Convocation of Canterbury
Chair of the Working Party