Make a Difference, Train a Priest.
I have found a new Curate for St Clement’s, and I am now selling shares in him. O.K, that’s not quite true! But I would like you to buy into him spiritually.
St Clement’s Vestry has encouraged me for almost two years to choose a new assistant priest, and I have looked at many applications and even interviewed some of them, but have not been convinced they were the right person.
During this time, we have been able to save the stipend of a curate, but as with every parish and indeed family, this has been a time when incomes have shrunk, and so we have been glad to make this saving. But the time has now come when, if St Clement’s is to continue its traditions of presenting the fullest Anglo-Catholic worship and service within the Episcopal Church, we must return to having two full-time priests.
And to make this possible, without our having to cut other parts of our budget, such as our wonderful music program, or to use our endowment funds, I have decided to make an appeal to the generosity of the Friends of St Clement’s, both our official Friends as well as our much more widespread unofficial friends throughout the world.
There are several reasons why any friend of St Clement’s should make a gift.
First, our worship, and especially the High Mass of Sundays and Feast Days, requires two priests. I know, from letters received and the vast number of hits to our website, how many other Anglo-Catholic churches look to us as a standard of excellence. And who would want St Clement’s to abandon this witness to the beauty of holiness?
That on its own would not justify the expense of a second priest. But the second reason for our having a curate is that parishes like St Clement’s have a moral obligation to train and educate young priests to go out and be the Rectors of parishes in the future. Our seminaries on the whole do a reasonable job in giving young clergy an academic knowledge, but they mostly do not teach what Monsignor Ronnie Knox called Priestcraft. And yet this is vital if we are to have priests who can administer the sacraments, preach the Gospel, and “rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” and “eat and drink with publicans and sinners”, which were two of the job descriptions Jesus gave to his disciples.
And there is a third reason for us to have a curate at St Clement’s. We are surrounded by three Universities and a dozen colleges with tens of thousands of students attending them. Many are Episcopalians, away from home and church for the first time. They need a friendly church which will welcome them in and care for them, and I think St Clement’s could do much more in this field than we do at the present. And the same is true of the very many young professionals who have moved into City Center, and may be as rootless as the students, where church is concerned. We need to reach out to them too. This cannot, of course, be done by the priests alone, but one job I would like our new curate to do would be to encourage our lay members to plan a “Mission of Hospitality” to welcome such people into St Clement’s.
So, if you have just won the Lottery, would you please make out a very large check to pay for our new curate. But if you have not (yet) become a millionaire, please help us make a difference by sending a smaller check, thus giving a new priest the best training and parish experience that we can offer.