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Ordained Ministry

"We stand within a tradition
in which there are deacons, priests and bishops.
They are called and empowered to fulfil an ordained ministry
and to enable the whole mission of the Church.
Our authority is in Scripture
and in the Church’s continuing practice through the ages."
(Extract from A New Zealand Prayer Book, page 890)


In the Anglican tradition we recognise three orders:

  • Deacons
  • Priests
  • Bishops

The process of entry into these orders is called ordination. All ordained people begin their lives as deacons, some become priests, and a small few bishops. Although each order has different responsibilities they are cumulative. That means that a priest is also a deacon, and that a bishop is both a deacon and a priest.


A deacon is called to a ministry of service. In the earliest church, candidates "full of the Spirit and of wisdom" (Acts 6:3) were invited to distribute food and care for the needs of the community. All those selected were gathered before the apostles "who prayed and laid their hands on them" (Acts 6:6). Ever since, deacons have been strongly associated with pastoral care, the distribution of consecrated bread and wine, and intercessory prayer.

In New Zealand we recognise two types of deacon: transitional and permanent. A transitional deacon is anticipating eventual ordination to the priesthood whereas permanent deacons commit to their order forever.

To learn more about a deacon's ministry see the Ordination Service, and especially page 891 (A New Zealand Prayer Book).


A priest is a deacon called to sacramental ministry. The Ordinal (service that ordains) describes the priest's priorities as follows:

"Above all they are to proclaim God’s word
and take their part in Christ’s prophetic work,
to declare forgiveness through Jesus Christ,
to baptise,to preside at the Eucharist,
to administer Christ’s holy sacraments."
(Extract from A New Zealand Prayer Book, page 901)

To learn more about a priest's ministry see the Ordination Service, and especially page 901 (A New Zealand Prayer Book).


If you feel called to ordained ministry the first thing you need to do is talk to your vicar. The vicar (a priest that a bishop has given a parish to) will be able to talk to you about what it means to be ordained and they will help you begin to understand what your future ministry might be. 

Subsequent to these initial discussions you may be invited to make contact with the Director of Vocations. This may lead to a more formal process of discernment.


The Director of Vocations is responsible for helping people explore the call God is making on their lives. Even if you are discerned for ordained ministry you can expect to wait 18 or more months before ordination. This time is a critical part of the process.

The Reverend Stephen Black is the current Director of Vocations, for more information and to start talking please email Stephen.

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