What is the Vicar’s Role?

Of course the answer to this will depend on which vicar you ask and the context in which they are ministering!

In the ordination service it is described thus:

Priests are called to be servants and shepherds among the people to whom they are sent. With their Bishop and fellow ministers, they are to proclaim the word of the Lord and to watch for the signs of God’s new creation. They are to be messengers, watchmen and stewards of the Lord; they are to teach and to admonish, to feed and provide for his family, to search for his children in the wilderness of this world’s temptations, and to guide them through its confusions, that they may be saved through Christ for ever. Formed by the word, they are to call their hearers to repentance and to declare in Christ’s name the absolution and forgiveness of their sins.

With all God’s people, they are to tell the story of God’s love. They are to baptize new disciples in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and to walk with them in the way of Christ, nurturing them in the faith. They are to unfold the Scriptures, to preach the word in season and out of season, and to declare the mighty acts of God. They are to preside at the Lord’s table and lead his people in worship, offering with them a spiritual sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. They are to bless the people in God’s name. They are to resist evil, support the weak, defend the poor, and intercede for all in need. They are to minister to the sick and prepare the dying for their death. Guided by the Spirit, they are to discern and foster the gifts of all God’s people, that the whole Church may be built up in unity and faith.

Not a lot there about running a small business (our parish has a turnover of c£100,000), and of course in some parishes the vicar doesn’t have to do this as there are people who can do it for them.  However, in others there aren’t.

Did you also notice the other two bits in there?

With all God’s people, they are to tell the story of God’s love.

they are to discern and foster the gifts of all God’s people, that the whole Church may be built up in unity and faith

Which for me asks the question what is the balance – how much does the vicar do, and how much do “all God’s people” do?

Where I was curate there was a very capable congregation and they ran the organisation, leaving the vicar to focus on the spiritual.  BUT, as I left there were four clergy and someone in training, and this for 1 church with 3 services a week.  I felt that this encouraged the congregation to leave the “spiritual stuff” to the clergy.  I think this is wrong; unless “all God’s people” join in the spiritual they will find it harder to grow in their faith.  If we all don’t step out of our comfort zone we will struggle to grow, and this applies spiritually as much as to any other area of life.

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