As a member of the Standing Committee I regularly meet with and interview Episcopalians who believe themselves called to ordained ministry. The role of the Standing Committee in these cases, along with the Bishop and the Commission on Ministry, is to help discern what sort of vocation might have in mind for these individuals and to oversee their continuing formation for ordination. It's a daunting responsibility. I previously served in a similar capacity in West Virginia for several years, so i've met with a fair number of folks who feel called either to the priesthood or the diaconate. One of the traits that these folks often say they lack is a sufficient knowledge of Holy Scripture. While that might surprise you, maybe it shouldn't. I find that many - maybe even most - Episcopalians simply do not know our Bible as well as we could.
That's a shame, really, and I don't mean that in an emotionally manipulative "you should love Jesus more" kind of way. Immersing ourselves in the stories of our faith is an incredibly effective way for us to deepen not just our knowledge about God but our relationship with God as well. The Holy Scriptures are the Constitution of our faith, but they are also the love story between God and creation. If we undertake the process described in those words from the Book of Common Prayer, "to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest" the Scriptures, I suspect that more than anything else we will find ourselves falling deeper into love with the God encountered within them.
To that end, this fall St. Michael's will be undertaking a year-long effort, to read the entire Bible over the course of a year. We will begin on Monday, 1 October, the day after we celebrate the Feast of St. Michael. Between now and then, you'll hear lots more about this process: how it works, how to participate, what you will need, etc. Don't be afraid - we can do this! It won't be difficult or tedious, and the process is designed to help us find our way through the more drudgerous and dry parts, like the "begats." In addition, we will be offering a weekly Bible Study at St. Michael's to go along with our year's journey through the Bible.
I hope you'll take part - stay tuned for more details!!