It is Scottish Episcopal Institute custom, in common with most other Theological Education Institutes, to circulate Ember Cards at this time of the year, writes Canon Anne Tomlinson, Principal, Scottish Episcopal Institute.
These list the names of those students who have just completed their first three years of ministerial formation at SEI and are about to be ordained Deacon or licensed as a Lay Reader at Michaelmas. They are sent to encourage the Church to pray for those candidates.
But why Ember cards? In common with the liturgical calendars of other Western churches, the SEC keeps four sets of ‘Ember Days’, three days within a week, roughly equidistant through the year, which are earmarked for fasting and prayer. Prayer at these times is specifically asked for those who serve the Church in its various ministries, both ordained and lay, and for vocations. Special readings appropriate to these themes are provided in the SEC Calendar and Lectionary for those Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays four times a year.
So here is this year’s card. Please use it in your own private prayers, and also give it to those leading the Prayers of the People on Sundays, that these five candidates may be supported by all our prayers as they prepare to take this momentous step in their lives of faithful discipleship.