Priest. Minister. Reverend. Pastor.

I sometimes say that Anglicans can play fast and loose with terms for our ordained leaders. I like to switch between these (and more) because I think that each highlights a different aspect of this particular vocation.

Today, I am drawn especially to the word ‘pastor,’ which comes from the Latin word for shepherd, as this Sunday is known as “Good Shepherd Sunday.” This is because of our readings, which explore one of the most popular and longstanding images for God and Christ in both the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures (Old and New Testaments) – shepherd.

This Sunday is also Sarah Lehman’s last Sunday with us as our theological student, part of her process of, God-willing, being raised up and ordained as a priest, a minister, a reverend, a pastor in the Church, a shepherd in God’s great flock. 

As our time together comes to an end, I give thanks for the ways that Sarah has blessed us through her presence and ministry, as well as for the opportunity that all of us had to be part of her formation and learning. We, all of us, were in a way able to pastor, to shepherd Sarah along this part of her journey. 

All of us, ordained or not, are certainly sheep. All of us are in need of community and care, in need of feeding, guiding, protecting and keeping.


All of us are shepherds too, given the opportunity and responsibility to look to and offer care to the lost and vulnerable. Tasked with the work of feeding, comforting, teaching, guiding, protecting and encouraging others at different times and in different ways.

Which makes sense.

We proclaim Christ, both the Good Shepherd and the Lamb of God.

As followers of this Jesus, who have put on Christ in baptism, we too, you, me, Sarah, all of us, are both shepherds and sheep.

May we claim and grow into these beloved identities in ourselves and in one another.

Thanks be to God. Alleluia!