Priests in Secular Work: Participating in the “Missio Dei”


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Book Details

Format: Paperback (207 pages)

Publisher: Sacristy Press

Date of Publication:

ISBN: 978-1-78959-142-2

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​For large parts of the Church of England, standard models of ordained ministry are the full-time stipendiary priesthood, or, alternatively, chaplaincy. Yet, there are a growing number of clergy for whom their vocation consists of life in the Church and work in the secular world.

Jenny Gage argues that in the twenty-first century, priests in secular work (PSW) are not a new phenomenon, and they have a specific vocation, not to be subsumed under any church-based model of ordained ministry. She makes the case for understanding priestly ministry in secular work as a distinct vocation, which is as necessary to the life of the institutional Church at a time when secular society is rapidly changing as it is to those whose vocation it is.

Both the sacramental nature of this vocation and the work they do are key to the vocational identity of priests in secular work and to their calling to build God’s kingdom in the world.

Beginning with her experience of reflecting her vocation as a maths educator and as a priest, Jenny Gage explores priestly ministry in secular through a number of theological lenses including the narrative formation of identity, theology of work, and theology of place.

This book is masterful. It is well written and carefully organised. … Part autobiography, part biblical hermeneutic, part theological reflection, the book demonstrates the power of ethnographic research. Gage allows her interviewees to narrate their vocational journey, how the context of work shapes the formation of priestly identity and a theology of work and place. It is grounded in a rootedness in the Christian tradition that connects, illuminates and challenges some of the fixity of ministerial and ecclesiological norms.

Prof. James Woodward, Principal of Sarum College

Rich in its personal reflection and reflective deep-level interviews with practitioners, Jenny Gage has given us the book we sorely need—a detailed theological and practical reflection on what it means to be a worker priest in the twenty-first century.

John Lees, National Officer for Self-Supporting Ordained Ministry and author of Self-Supporting Ministry: A Practical Guide

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