What is Total Ministry?

The number of congregations engaging in Total Ministry in the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota has increased significantly in recent years, and is mentioned in the Goals being implemented by the Mission Strategy Network.

Total or Shared Ministry is a way of enabling the ministry of all the baptized. It is based in our theology of Baptism, where we affirm that each baptized Christian is called to use their God-given gifts for ministry. In the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota, a team of leaders is called within a congregation or cluster to work together. In some dioceses, such a team is called a ministry support team, indicating that these leaders seek to involve as many members of the congregation as possible in various forms of ministry. In other dioceses, Total Ministry is also called Collaborative Ministry, Shared Ministry, Team Ministry, or Mutual Ministry.

In 1979 the General Convention of the Episcopal Church created a new canon to allow for local training and education for priesthood. The first three priests ordained in Minnesota under the provisions of this canon were the Rev. Leonard Walberg of Hinckley, the Rev. Johnson Loud of Redby, and the Rev. Ivan Sutherland of Rice Lake. (Loud later went to seminary and changed canonical status.) None of these early locally ordained priests were part of a ministry team, and therefore lacked the support of a team. Since then, we have learned the importance of identifying and supporting an entire team.

In the early 1990′s the Rev. Beverly Hosea was called to implement Total Ministry in Cloquet, Proctor, and West Duluth, under the guidance of the Rt. Rev. Sandy Hampton. Hosea developed and trained the first team. West Duluth and Proctor subsequently merged to become Trinity Episcopal Church, Hermantown. Hermantown and Cloquet now comprise the Spirit of the Lakes Cluster, with additional involvement in the St. Enmegahbowh Ministry in Duluth.

About the same time, St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, Chatfield, entered into Total Ministry under the guidance of the Ven. Ben Scott. The Rev. Donald Twentyman, Deacon, worked with him to provide for education and training for the team.

§ One Response to What is Total Ministry?

  • Ted Nelson says:

    Thanks loads, Sandi. I may be out of the “loop” and off COM, but that doesn’t take away my passion for Total/Shared Ministry. I plan to use this blog entry to share my passion with others.

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