When the risen Jesus appeared to His disciples in the upper room (John 20: 19), He breathed on them and gave them the gift of the Holy Spirit to strengthen them for the ministry of spreading the good news of His resurrection and continuing the work of the Incarnation. This is the origin of the sacrament of ordination.
Initially, the tiny Christian Church met in synagogues or in one another's homes and were taught by the apostles and celebrated the eucharist with them.
As the Church spread throughout the Middle East and grew in numbers, and as the apostles began to die, it was necessary to appoint additional ministers to take their place. This led eventually to the development of the threefold ministry of bishops, priests and deacons. Deacons are ordained by a simple laying on of hands by the bishop. They are presented with a copy of the New Testament to symbolise their duty to spread the Gospel. Priests are anointed on the palms of the hands with Chrism, receive the laying on of hands by the bishop and any other priests who are present. They are given a copy of the Bible or a chalice and paten to symbolise their duty to celebrate the Eucharist. Bishops are anointed on the head with Chrism and receive the laying on of hands by all the bishops present. They are given a ring, mitre and pastoral staff to represent their authority and their duty of care.
The decison of the General Synod in November 1992 to ordain women as priests has been deeply divisive for the Church of England and for the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church as a whole.
The PCC at Ss Peter & Paul has passed Resolutions A & B under the Act of Synod. Resolution A means that no woman can celebrate the Eucharist or pronounce the absolution in the parish. Resolution B means that no woman may be vicar of the parish.
The increasing likelihood that the General Synod will agree to the consecration of women as bishops in the foreseeable future means that the PCC will need to decide whether to petition for alternative episcopal oversight in the near future.