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Gathering the Next Generation: Essays on the Formation and Ministry of Genx Priests [Paperback]

By III Griswold Frank T. (Author)
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Item Number 138390  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   188
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.02" Width: 6.02" Height: 0.48"
Weight:   0.59 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 1, 2000
Publisher   Morehouse Publishing
ISBN  0819218324  
EAN  9780819218322  


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Item Description...
Overview
This collection of essays was written by a group of priest that are relatively rare in the Episcopal Church- priest under 35 years of age. In 1997 only 296 Episcopal clergy were from the group commonly known as Generation X; they compromise only 3.5% of the ordained people in full time ministry in the Church. Inspired by that statistic some GenX priests and seminariarns organized a conference called Gathering the NeXt Generation, which was held at Virginia Theological Seminary in June 1997. These essays, while not the actual papers given at the conference, are the result of that conversation and the ones that continued among GenX priests in the Episcopal Church.

Publishers Description

This collection of essays was written by a group of priests that are relatively rare in the Episcopal Church priests under 35 years of age. In 1997 only 296 Episcopal clergy were from the group commonly known as Generation X; they comprise only 3.5% of the ordained people in full time ministry in the Church. Inspired by that statistic some GenX priests and seminarians organized a conference called Gathering the NeXt Generation, which was held at Virginia Theological Seminary in June 1997. These essays, while not the actual papers given at the conference, are the result of that conversation and the ones that continue among GenX priests in the Episcopal Church.

The range of issues for GenX priests and for their ministry into the new millenium are important ones for the whole church. As we approach a clergy shortage (due to retirements) in the Episcopal Church, will we continue to discourage young men and women from entering the ordination process, asking them to come back when they have some life experience? Some contributors also consider new models of ministry: the return of the concept of curacy, the possibilities for bi-vocational ministry and the renewal of campus ministry. Others help us look through the eyes of GenX priests and parishioners, including those who are Black or pregnant, and see the Church through a very different lens. For all who care about the future of the Episcopal Church, this volume, written in the voices of those who will be our future is a must-read. "

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Not all are gathered...  Jul 22, 2004
This is a very important book for me -- as a generation X-er myself (just on the cusp -- I missed the Baby Boomer generation by a matter of months), I can relate to much of what is contained in this book. The editor, Nathan Humphrey, at the time of this gathering was an aspirant with many of the problems and fears that I had when encountering the vocational process. How can you embrace a process that you fear, that you do not trust? How can you trust a process that belittles you, and fundamentally does not trust you? I regret to say that this is the reason why I am no longer a member of the Episcopal church; despite summa cum laude grades at my seminary and the feeling among all but three Episcopal clerics that I would make a good priest, the process was sufficiently manipulated by a few powerful people to keep me from even being permitted to ask the initial question, am I called? If ever there was a process that is need of overhaul, this is it.

Other writers in this text talk about community. Community is of vital importance in the church -- without it, there is no church. However, what constitutes community is different from generation to generation, and mainline churches (of which the Episcopal church is one) is only beginning to understand its need for change in different areas, while embracing tradition in others. This is never an easy task. My problem with the hierarchy of the church is that they are too quick to pass responsibility on to a vague concept of 'community' while holding all the power and authority amongst themselves. Various contributors speak to this issue, too. It will be a long time before there are any Generation X-er bishops, and given that the number of X-er priests is still a single-digit percentage, it is no surprise this book does not get more attention in official circles.

The topics discussed in this book include issues of race, gender, and bivocational ministry (funny, when one of my students asked a local bishop about this possibility, the student was told that this proved the call was not a valid call, so go figure...). The book looks primary at issues concentrating around ordained leadership roles, but can be instructive with regard to other roles, too. This is a book that should be read by every bishop, priest, deacon, vestry member, Christian educator, lay leader, seminarian, and interested congregation member in the church.

While I love this book in many respects, and find kindred spirits among the contributors to many of the things that I have felt, in my call to ministry, my experience as a seminarian, and my practice as a priest (another church ordained me, with the clear understanding that my heart was still Anglican), I am saddened that they don't take the issue of those lost to the church because of the problems more seriously. Perhaps it is because at their conference, the root of this book, there weren't many (or perhaps any) representatives of those of us who would give almost anything to be able to return to our church and be of service, but find that the requirements are set so high as to be impossible. This is a church that has the parable of the prodigal son as part of its standard lectionary -- however, the church could never be confused with the welcoming father in that lesson.

There is hope for the church, and this book exhibits this. However, the church needs to face the future with honesty, and that honesty needs to include those of us excluded.
 

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