The Holy Orders and Offices of the Church
All higher levels of study in Spiritis Seminary pertain to the Higher Offices that perpetuate the Church, provide leadership and direction for its congregation, celebrate the Sacraments, and perform all the many services to God and man that are part of ministry.
Throughout history there have been many Orders and many Offices in the Church.
There are, however, three principle Orders that cover the most basic and important responsibilities of the Church. These are the Orders of Bishop, Priest, and Deacon. They were all present in the first century of the Church’s history.
First it is important to understand that the Church’s broad foundation has the widest possible inclusion of all who would respond and join in service to one another without specified duties to any organizational structure. Jeshua commanded the Apostles to go to the farthest reaches of the world and carry the good news. In asking this of them, he made this promise: “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”–Matt. 28:19–20
That their outreach might be carried with enthusiasm and spirit, he made another promise: “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him: but ye know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”
In this perpetuity, there is both structure and non-structure. Above all, the non-structured communion of truth and love is the ruling nature of Christ’s Church. According to Matthew 18:20, it is said: “Wherever two or three are gathered in my name, I will be among them.”
Therefore, let it be known that the true and spiritual community of Spiritis Church is bound by the Holy Spirit and the Love of Christ, and not by human limitations or prescriptions, nor by set jurisdictions of physical properties or locations. In this spirit we present no physical or denominational limitations upon our membership, nor do we place restrictions on the hearts, faith, or beliefs of those who join with us in the Truths of God. By this trust and by this grace of God our membership is thus established and includes all.
For all those reasons, and in the way of its original inception, Spiritis Church has seen fit to recognize and perpetuate a large and free spirited Ministry and Chaplaincy of men and women dedicated to serve in whatever way they have chosen for their lives.
To these dedicated individuals Spiritis Church presents responsible spiritual education with respect for the diversity and talent among them all. As it is said in the Gospel: “And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ:”
To carry the good news of love and truth; and to facilitate the evolution of human consciousness, in unique and individual ways, is the core work of a Spiritis Minister. To be a Spiritis Minister and Chaplain is an independent ordination not requiring any service within the Higher Orders, unless their heart’s so elect.
The Higher Orders of the Church have evolved over centuries of loving outreach, necessity of leadership, and the various talents that have been offered in service to God and man. In the first generation of Christianity, everyone who was called by the Holy Spirit ministered (just as our Spiritis Ministers and Chaplains do today). The expanding ministry was coordinated and managed only by the Apostles and those appointed by them. It was a simple two-pronged system that allowed for the maximum expansion and localized leadership wherever congregations developed.
After the generation of the Apostles had passed, those who took up their responsibilities became the first Bishops. It was (and is) the primary duty of a Bishop to establish churches and manage congregations. The Order of Bishops exists to this day as the primary leadership position within Spiritis Church and the continuity of Apostolic Succession.
Historically as congregations grew, the need for levels of service also grew. Therefore, the function of Deacons and Priests became essential to carry out all the tasks at hand.
In Spiritis Seminary we also see this great value, and offer advanced training to become ordained as a Deacon and a Priest. While some parts of this training are universal and academic, these courses of study and preparation are often highly individualized in respect of the special talents, skills and callings of those who apply. There is both study and personal guidance by an appointed Bishop or Priest in the various acts of ministry and protocol for the Order to which one is aspiring.
Becoming a Spiritis Minister is a prerequisite to applying for study in one of the Higher Orders. Detailed information on these Higher Orders is part of the Spiritis Ministry Course. However, anyone not enrolled, but interested in a general summation of these courses, may contact Spiritis Seminary.
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by Spiritis Church of Christ Blessing