The Struggle Of A Priest-In-Charge And The Parishioners
Galatians 1:1 Paul, an apostle-- sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father,
In the Anglican Church, every priest and pastor is subjected to be transferred to another parish or to mission field. In fact, every priest and pastor has different call as in some are called to be missionary, church planter, or to shepherd a church. They have different gifts as well – some are good in administration, some are good in interpersonal relationship, or some are good in evangelism. One of the responsibilities of the Bishop is to look at the Diocese as a whole so that the needs of the Diocese can be met and be strengthened to fulfill the Great Commandment. Therefore, the Bishop has to discern and decide which priest to be sent to parish according to the needs of the parish. And we need to know that there is not perfect pastor that can fully meet the needs of the parish.
Because we are in Anglican Church, all of us, both priest and parishioners struggled. This has been one of my reflections during the silent retreat. I also got to know that some of us are “sick” or afraid of having another priest in our church. This resulted that some unwilling to serve with the priest to avoid another disappointment. In any transfer, we need to know that not only that the parishioners got affected, but the priest himself also got affected. He needs to find time to adjust to new environment. He will also miss his congregations like how the parishioners missed their former priest. In fact, this is one of the loneliest times for the pastor. With this, both priest and parishioners have to build trust again.
As ordained minister, firstly we need to know that it is God’s will to send us out. We are sent by God, not from men nor by man. Secondly, we are sent to spread the gospel, and also to strengthen the church. 1 Thessalonians 3:2 says, “We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God's fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith.”
So, may I urge all of us to work together as a body of Christ “so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12-13).