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Relational Ministry

Integrating Ministry and Psychotherapy

Catherine Gibson

Historically, the relationship between religion and psychotherapy has been more negative than positive. Are there inherent contradictions between the two, or can advances in the area of mental health care offer insights that are useful for the work of those in ordained ministry? This book presents an analysis of the relationship between ordained ministry on the one hand and counselling and psychotherapeutic practice on the other. It draws on extensive interviews carried out with current and former clergy in three churches (the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Ireland and the Presbyterian Church in Ireland) in order to clarify why some have stayed in ministry and combined it with psychotherapy, while others have left and continue their practice as psychotherapists. The book explores possible links between the sense of ministry in these two important areas of human experience – religion and psychotherapy – and goes on to investigate how combining these might lead to a different form of ministry.
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CHAPTER 4 - Three Rites of Ordination

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CHAPTER 4

Three Rites of Ordination

There are similarities but also significant differences in theology and practice regarding ordained ministry between the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Ireland (Anglican Communion), and the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. Bearing that in mind, I will contextualise the traditions and teachings of each Church in relation to the nature of ministry that were current at the time when the participants entered ministry in order to highlight two main aspects: i) what the Church intended to do at ordination, and ii) the effects of ordination on the status of the ordained person.

The teachings on ministry in these churches are complex and the present context does not require a detailed discussion of these complexities. The aim is to give a general idea of what undertaking ordained ministry in these churches involved, so what follows is a brief outline of the main teachings in the three churches within the Irish context. The main convergences and divergences between ordination in the three churches are presented in Table 4.1 at the end of this chapter.

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