“In the beginning was the Word…” is the famous introduction to John’s gospel. God who was before all things was in the beginning. He created all things and all things have their existence because of him. He created all things through his word. His word is not part of creation but was with God before creation and is God himself. So “the Word was with God and the Word was God.”
The importance of the Word of God in creation (Psalm 33:6) is matched by the importance of God word in the new creation. We are born again “through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Peter 1:23).
It is an extraordinarily humbling thing to realise that the living, active and powerful word of God, through which He created the world and through which he regenerates people is expressed in human speech. Mere humans speak the creative and regenerating word of God. Paul told the Thessalonians that he thanked God “that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).
Faith comes from hearing the word of God. The increase in the preaching of this wonderful word of God’s grace must be a prayerful concern of all Christians. We need to pray that God would raise up many preachers of his word, both lay and ordained, those who undertake the task as their paid vocation and those who do it at their own expense.
To this end we must train ourselves and as many people as we can to speak God’s saving word in this lost and godless generation.
Our diocesan mission has as one of its four policies:
To multiply the number of well-trained persons (ordained, lay, full time, part time, voluntary) lovingly dedicated to the creation and development of such parishes, congregations and fellowships by proclaiming the gospel.
The Cathedral plays an important role in this policy. Over the last year we have started to combine the Department of Ministry Training and Development with the ministry of the Cathedral. There is a sharing of staff and resources. The After College Training programme for the diocesan clergy and full time Lay Stipendiary Workers is now conducted on Thursdays in the Chapter House. The appointment of the first Cathedral Ministry Trainee and the growth of our Student Ministers are also part of establishing the Cathedral as a key training centre for the ministry of God’s word.
As the Cathedral we are interested in the Diocese as a whole and so are concerned for the welfare of Moore College and the Church Missionary Society as they seek to recruit train and send more gospel workers into the world.
The great news of the growth of Moore College was seen at their recent graduation when the largest number of graduates ever were presented with their diplomas and degrees. What is more exciting is that this was not a one-off good year. There are more students in the following years than in last year’s graduating class. So that each of the next few years should see increases in the numbers of graduates.
This increase in students is flowing through to our diocesan workforce. In the last year the number of candidates for Anglican ministry training at Moore College has increased by over 30%. Next year we are expecting to ordain or commission just over 20 candidates for the Diocese. However, in 2006 we are expecting the number to be just under 40 and the subsequent years look at this stage to follow this new level.
This will provide the human resources to open up new ministries across the diocese – but of course will create new stresses on our diocesan systems. Still, these are the stresses that come from God answering our prayers.