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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.

Apostle
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.

Bishop
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.

Evangelist/Patriarch
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

[Local Priesthood]

High Priest
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 ]

Seventy
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.

Elder
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
    deacons

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
     them

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
     such responsibility

[ Local Priesthood ]

Priest
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 baptize

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
     elected)

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

[Local Priesthood]

Teacher
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
     upon them

[Local Priesthood]

Deacon
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
      appropriate decor

To serve the church in taking the offering at church services

To teach and advise the people regarding the principles of stewardship and
     financial management

[Local Priesthood]

 


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