Value and Significance of Mutual Ministry

Value and Significance of Mutual Ministry

Author: Fr. John Borrego
September 04, 2020


Value and Significance of Mutual Ministry

COVID-19: a blessing?

WHAT?! you say? How can that be?  Let me explain what I mean.

I was trained in seminary in the 1970s for ministry in the 1950s. It was very much the “Father Knows Best” model of ministry. The priest of a congregation was a benevolent ruler who not only led worship and provided pastoral care, but offered benevolent leadership in all matters. Father made every day-to-day decision. What style of worship? What Sunday School curriculum? What evening will be Bible study be on? Who will be a lay reader?

I was taught that this was both a privilege and a responsibility. Yes, the priest makes all the main decisions. Who knows what trouble lay people would get into without the wise guidance from their leader? I remember being told that washing coffee cups after a meeting as a priest was poor leadership. A good leader would find someone to do that job, and delegate.

In my over forty years in the ordained ministry, I have gradually learned about the value and significance of mutual ministry— of all of the members of the body of Christ offering what they can give to the life of the whole. I have never seen that lived out more than here at St. John’s during these past strange months we have been journeying through.

Consider what ministries have emerged among us, at the initiative of members of our community. Shannon Conley and the pastoral care group have been regularly calling members of the congregation to check in with them. Shannon and members of the choir on their own have initiated a Zoom Morning Prayer on their own.

Deacon James Tyree has initiated a Wednesday evening video prayer service. Greg Taylor has built an impressive new website for St. John’s. He also has built on my homilies on video, adding lay folk leading prayers and lessons. Olivia Burke has enriched our life together with glorious musical offerings. Steve Warren prepares sack meals to take to the homeless every weekend. Ben Odom and the search committee press forward with the vital task of selecting a new rector for St. John’s.

Members of our vestry and Resource Development Committee are stewards of our financial resources and our physical property, as well as taking counsel for the spiritual well-being of our congregation.

And then there’s you. You join us in prayer. You look in on the various online offerings. You remember your friends in this church family. You long for the day when we will gather again and lift our hearts and voices together.

Really, I’m just kind of along for the ride. What an honor to be a part of this congregation at this time!

So—COVID-19. A blessing.

—Rev. John Borrego


St. John’s Episcopal Church

235 W Duffy St
Norman, OK 73069

Office Phone (405) 321-3020