The Anglican Church consists of lay persons, deacons, priests and bishops. We consider all baptized Christians to be “ministers” as they share their gifts and talents. However, some members of the church feel called to be ordained as deacons, priests or bishops. In the Anglican Church of Canada, both women and men are eligible for ordination.
Deacons serve as a bridge between church and community. Often employed outside the church, deacons help to interpret the needs and concerns of society to church leaders and help to support and nurture church members. There are two kinds of deacons -- Transitional deacons, who serve in this role for an interim period before being ordained to the priesthood, and Vocational deacons, who choose the diaconate as a lifelong ministry.
The priest serves as a pastor and teacher to members of the church, leads worship, preaches, and supports members of the congregation as they reach out into their community. Some priests find their vocation in a non-church setting, such as a hospital, university or prison chaplaincy.
Bishops are elected by priests and lay people. They provide leadership and care for congregations and serve as a link with the mission and ministry of the national and international church and with other faith traditions.
When bishops are elected to exercise oversight for a larger constituency within the church, such as an Ecclesiastical Province or as head of a national church, they receive the title Archbishop.