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Pastor, Pastoral Ministry 

The word "pastor" derives from the work of tending sheep: a pastor is one who cares for sheep. The term came into the Christian understanding of the ordained ministry because of the frequent references in Holy Scripture to God as a shepherd of the people of Israel and Jesus as the Good Shepherd. A priest is a pastor for his or her congregation in the sense that he or she cares for the people, protects them and directs them, and feeds them with spiritual food in the Holy Eucharist. Similarly, a bishop is a chief pastor because she or he has oversight of all those pastors who care for the people committed to their care. There are certain ambiguities in the term now that the church is much less agrarian and rural than in previous times. But the term "pastor" and the related work of pastoral ministry are deeply important for the Christian tradition of ordained ministry. 




Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.
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