"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Serving in the Church Today

The life of those in parish ministry today is not an easy lot. I have many friends who are priests, and have seen their struggles up close. I also worked for two years in a small parish doing all kinds of administrative work as a volunteer. I am thus regularly put in mind of an anecdote told of Wilfred Knox, less famous Anglican brother to the more famous Roman Catholic convert Ronald: Wilfred once proposed writing a two-volume series on Christian ethics. The first volume would be "Respect for the Clergy." The second would be simply called "Other Virtues."

William Mills, the prolific Orthodox pastoral theologian and himself a parish priest, has recently produced a very useful anthology which should be required reading for all students in Orthodox and Eastern Catholic seminaries:

Called to Serve: Readings on Ministry from the Orthodox Church (Rollinsford, NH: Orthodox Research Institute, 2010), xiv+231pp.

This volume has excerpts from the writings of many of the "greats" of 20th-century Orthodoxy: Afanasiev, Schmemann, Bulgakov, Ware, Florovsky, Behr-Sigel, and others.

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