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The Priesthood of the Community of Christ
The Priesthood is the power of God conferred upon men and women by ordination, which empowers them to act in the name of Christ. We believe that "no man taketh this honor [of the ministry] unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron" (Heb. 5:4). Aaron was called by direct revelation from God through Moses. All of our ministers are called in this way.
There are two "orders" of the priesthood: the Melchisedec (as mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments) and the Aaronic (named after Aaron, brother of Moses - also called the Levitical priesthood). The Melchisedec priesthood is the "Holy priesthood after the order of the Son of God". The Aaronic priesthood includes a Christian form of the Levitical priesthood described in the Old Testament.
All priesthood members are expected to lead clean lives, free from the use of alcohol and tobacco, to be an example in their response to the principle of stewardship, and to minister by teaching, expounding, and preaching the Gospel. They should be diligent in their work and carry out all of their duties as faithfully and as promptly as possible. They are to invite all to come to Christ.
An Apostle is of the Melchisedec priesthood, and is a specialized office of the High Priest. There are twelve Apostles in the church. This "Council of Twelve" is the chief missionary quorum in the church. They have a major responsibility in the church's missionary outreach.
A Bishop is of the Melchisedec priesthood and is a specialized function of the office of High Priest. The presiding bishopric are primarily concerned with temporal ministries. It is the charge of the bishops to manage the income and disbursements of the church, teach and apply the principals of stewardship, management of the properties of the church, and to deal with legal matters. The Bishopric preside over the Aaronic priesthood.
The Evangelist is a specialized function of the office of High Priest and is part of the Melchisedec priesthood. The duties of this office are to:
Preach, teach, expound,and exhort;
be a Revivalist;
Visit congregations and districts as requested or directed;
Comfort the saints;
Give counsel and advice to individuals;
Lay on hands for the conferment of blessing
The High Priest is of the Melchisedec order, and has a right to officiate in their own standing, under the direction of the Presidency, in administering spiritual things (agreeably to the covenants and commandments of the church), and also in the office of an elder, priest, teacher, deacon, and member.
[ Local Priesthood ]
The office of seventy is a specialized function of the elders. A seventy is called to work in the missionary arm of the church. As such, the Quorum of Seventy work closely with the Council of Twelve in missionary expansion.
An elder is a member of the Melchisedec priesthood. The duties of an elder are as follows:
Winning persons to Christ, and baptizing those who are ready to commit their
lives to Christ
Ordaining other elders, priests (of the Levitical or Aaronic order), teachers, and
Administering the communion of the Lord's Supper
Confirming persons by the laying on of hands for the baptism of the Holy Spirit
Teaching, expounding, exhorting, and watching over the members of the church
Blessing little children
Solemnizing and performing marriage ceremonies
Praying for and administering to the sick
Visiting the homes of members to encourage, strengthen, comfort, and teach
Presiding over a congregation or district when selected to do so
Conducting and taking the lead of meetings as the elder is led by the Holy Ghost
according to the commandments and revelations of God
Serving in the office of seventy when called and ordained to this office
Serving in judiciary matters as a member of an elder's court when appointed to
A priest is of the Aaronic order, and has the following duties and responsibilities in the church:
To preach, teach, expound, and exhort the church
To administer the Lord's Supper
To solemnize and perform marriages where the laws of the land allow
To ordain other priests, teachers, and deacons
To preside over a congregation when elected by the people (if no elder is available or
To travel as a missionary and take the lead in meetings when no elder is present
or when delegated that responsibility by those in charge
To minister to families and visit the homes of members, encouraging them to pray
vocally and in secret and to attend to their family duties
A teacher is of the Aaronic priesthood. A teacher is not required to travel as part of his or her ministry, and has the following duties and responsibilities in the church:
To watch over the church and be with and strengthen the membership
To see that the church meets often and that all members do their duty
To take the lead of meetings in the absence of an elder or priest
To preach, teach, and exhort the church
To be a peacemaker giving ministry which will reconcile those who have taken
offense either at another person or the church
To counsel and lead people into paths of righteousness before iniquity can work
A deacon is a member of the Aaronic priesthood, and are appointed to watch over the church and to be standing ministers to the church. A deacon is not required to travel as part of his or her ministry. Duties and responsibilities of a deacon include:
To watch over the church and encourage members to regular attendance
To visit the homes of the members, especially being concerned for their physical well-being
To warn, expound, exhort, teach, and preach as assigned
To maintain order in the church and care for the physical and social well-being of
the corporate body - this includes greeting people who attend gatherings,
seeing that everyone has necessary materials such as hymnals and bulletins,
and maintaining a comfortable environment in such ways as adjusting seats,
adjusting heat and air conditioning, ventilation, and lighting
To maintain church properties and attend to their repair, cleanliness, and
To serve the church in taking the offering at church services
To teach and advise the people regarding the principles of stewardship and
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