Magazine article Anglican Journal

Unlikely Prophets of a New Church

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Unlikely Prophets of a New Church

Article excerpt

BLIND MOSES and Blind Paul were native catechists who worked together near the Arctic Circle during the first years of the 20th century. Though usually a footnote to the story of clergy, they contributed much to the life of the church. I believe they are, along with many others across the North, the courageous and visionary prophets of a new (old) way of being the church.

Up until the late 1960s, non-ordained church ministries, like those of Blind Moses and Blind Paul, had been the mainstay of indigenous churches. Though effective and widespread, the use of these church offices was often criticized. Non-ordained ministries were frequently used as a way of expanding the ministry of indigenous peoples who were generally considered, by the culturally biased agents of a culture-based church, to be incapable of effective ordained ministry. The church, in a laudable response to this recognized bias, focused its work on the creation of ordained indigenous ministers. Unfortunately, the unintended consequence was the weakening of one of the most effective elements of gospel ministry among indigenous peoples.

Lay readers, catechists and other non-ordained ministers expanded the ministry beyond the confines of the institutional church and its buildings. …

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