The Revd Lesley Bilinda is Vicar of St Andrew’s
Lesley trained as a nurse and midwife and went to work for Tearfund in Rwanda which culminated in the time of the genocide in which her husband was murdered. She continued to work for Tearfund, then took a BA at All Nations College where she subsequently became Lecturer and Director of Pastoral Studies. She then worked for the Tutu Foundation before her theological studies for the priesthood.
Having a priest must not allow us to obscure the priesthood of all believers – we hold to this and to the ordained priesthood and above all to the high priesthood of Jesus Christ. The responsibilities of the ordained priesthood are set out in the Ordinal as:
“Priests are called to be servants and shepherds among the people to whom they are sent. With their Bishop and fellow ministers, they are to proclaim the word of the Lord and to watch for the signs of God’s new creation. They are to be messengers, watchmen and stewards of the Lord; they are to teach and to admonish, to feed and provide for his family, to search for his children in the wilderness of this world’s temptations, and to guide them through its confusions, that they may be saved through Christ for ever. Formed by the word, they are to call their hearers to repentance and to declare in Christ’s name the absolution and forgiveness of their sins.
With all God’s people, they are to tell the story of God’s love. They are to baptize new disciples in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and to walk with them in the way of Christ, nurturing them in the faith. They are to unfold the Scriptures, to preach the word in season and out of season, and to declare the mighty acts of God. They are to preside at the Lord’s table and lead his people in worship, offering with them a spiritual sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. They are to bless the people in God’s name. They are to resist evil, support the weak, defend the poor, and intercede for all in need. They are to minister to the sick and prepare the dying for their death. Guided by the Spirit, they are to discern and foster the gifts of all God’s people, that the whole Church may be built up in unity and faith“