There is no dignity so high, no responsibility so great, no work so noble, no reward so blessed, no life more full of beatitude, than that of a faithful Priest. It is a singular mark of God’s predestinating love that He calls any of us into this association with Himself.
“Lord Jesus, you are the Good Shepherd who cares for his flock: We ask you to bestow upon your Church the gifts of the Holy Spirit in abundance, and to raise up from among us faithful and able persons called to the ministries of Deacon, Priest, and Bishop. Inspire them to spend and be spent for the sake of the Gospel, and make them holy and loving servants and shepherds of the flock for whom you shed your most precious blood. Grant this for the sake of your love. Amen.” (BCP 650)
“[T]he vocation, that state of life to which one is called, of the seminarian is both a ministerial one by anticipation, i.e. the vocation as such is not something which begins only with ordination, and it is a calling to specific responsibilities and privileges which characterize the member of a particular educational-religious community.” (Clothed with Salvation, Preface)
There is no disputing the fact that the Seminarian occupies a unique, although necessary, place within any Church body. He seems to be in one instance a member of the clergy. He is invited to preach on occasion and the typical parishioner will ask him about his studies and what new tidbit of historical or ascetical theology he has learned that semester. Likely, he will be invited to play some role in the liturgy or to bless the food before a parish potluck. Within him, the priestly or diaconal vocation is already glimpsed. In another sense, however, there are those who have grown up within the Parish, sat under the catechism, and spent a lifetime bringing children to the Font who can easily outwit and out-teach the feeble Seminarian. Despite the honors afforded him, he still occupies the role of student. It is a confusing time for any man, and yet one of immense importance!
We want to aid him in this awkward time of formation. It is the Society’s great hope to provide the Province’s Seminarians with resources that will enable them to become clergymen that exemplify the best aspects of our patrimony. Those who join our list will be notified when these resources have been made available, as well as about our various Ministries (see below) as they are made available.
Surplices for Seminarians
The Society is pleased to announce that just as last year, the very talented Molly Holleran of Seemly Seams will be providing her services for the production of Six Full English Surplices to be donated to ACNA Seminarians. In addition, this year’s Seminarians will also be receiving Hand-Crafted Reader’s Scarves and Preaching Bands. It is our goal to keep these Surplices for Seminarians giveaways a yearly occurrence. These Hand-Crafted English Surplices, Scarves, and Bands will be given at random to six Seminarians during the last week of Advent 2021 and shipped early in Christmastide. This is our way of celebrating the Feast of the Nativity in a manner that is fun and edifying to the Province. Seminarians may be entered into the drawing by clicking the Join our Seminarian List above and by providing us with both a letter from their Diocese stating that they have been recognized as at least a postulant for Holy Orders, as well as proof of enrollment from their Seminary.
The surplice should fall to within about six inches of the ground, or to the ankles; and at the very shortest—by way of transition—nothing should be tolerated that is not well below the knee. It may be mentioned here that men are apt to think their surplices longer than they really are, because, when one leans forward to look at the length of the garment, it drops several inches in front. A further cause that has led to the gradual cutting down of garments is the rage for cheapness, and the desire of the tailor to save as much material as possible. Before vestments became a commercial article, they remained full, on the Continent as well as here. Now the worship of Mammon has so far entrenched on the honour due to God that the sweater has his own way with us, and it is considered seemly for a minister to appear in church in the garment called a ‘sausage-skin,’ a so-called surplice that is not only short, but is entirely deprived of gathers, so that a few extra halfpence may be saved from the cost of worship.
To theological students, in whose welfare I am most truly interested, I can speak with plainness; for at the present day, if amid the prodigious efforts of Popery—the beautiful example set us by various denominations in this country—and the delightful, the noble stand which our highly honored mother, the Church of England, has at last taken in reference to missions, there is even one, looking to the ministry, who has not in all sincerity and from his heart said to his Saviour, Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth—and is not ready to say to the Church, Here am I, send me—he has mistaken his calling.
The seminarian who studies his theology and says his prayers with an unmixed desire to serve and please God will presently become convinced that God is redeeming the world for him and making all things new.