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Quotations about MSE

EPIPHIANUS, Bishop in the fourth century

(quoted by John Fuller and Patrick Vaughan in Working for the Kingdom: The Story of Ministers in Secular Employment 1986)

  • most of them ['God's priests'] as they are able work with their hands at whatever sort of work is befitting their worth, and they find consistent with the mind of the church, so that their understanding of the word and the gospel may grow and bear fruit through the work of their hands.

MECHTILD of MAGDEBURG, 13th Century

  • The day of my spiritual awakening was when I saw - and knew that I saw - all things in God and God in all things"

Meister ECKHART, 14th Century

  • his then is salvation: when we marvel at the beauty of created things and praise their beautiful Creator.

OXFORD CONFERENCE ON CHURCH, COMMUNITY AND STATE 1937

(Preparatory Paper by W A Visser T'Hooft (later, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches) and J H Oldham)

  • the obligation resting on us is to refuse to be content with the present ministries of the Church … Instead of pressing people to avail themselves of these ministries, the Church must have at least some adventurers who by a bold leap will take their stand on the other side of the gulf and find a starting point for their ministry in the needs and activities of the common life.

TEILHARD de Chardin, 1955

  • Our faith imposes upon us a right and a duty to throw ourselves into the things of the earth.

HORST SYMANOWSKI, Pastor in the German Confessing Church

(in his book 'The Christian Witness in an Industrial Society' 1966) Symanowski himself, as a pastor, worked in a cement factory and in construction for four years.

  • There should.... be an increasing number of theologians whose vocational position should be in the midst of contemporary society as workers or salaried employees, parliamentarians or journalists, etc, so that they will experience in concrete [sic] form what it means to bear responsibility for secular life ... They should uncover the theological relevance of the most concrete social facts and processes of the sort that can be grasped only by having lived through them with others, deliberated together about them and come to common decisions. ... They would discover for the churches what things in the secular world are 'true, honourable, just, pure, lovely, gracious, excellent, praiseworthy' and help them to 'think about these things'. (Phil 4:8ff). They would help us 'prove what is the will of God, what is good, acceptable and perfect' ". (Rom 12:2).

MICHAEL RAMSEY, later Archbishop of Canterbury

(in the first edition of 'The Christian Priest Today', 1972)

  • I regard the contemporary development of a priesthood which combines a ministry of word and sacrament with employment in a secular profession not as a modem fad but as a recovery of something indubitably apostolic and primitive ...What we call our 'auxiliaries' today belong most truly to the apostolic foundation, and we may learn from them of that inner meaning of priesthood which we share with them.

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