Like every living being, The Christian Community is also a struc- tured organism.
The priests sent to the congregations are responsible for what should happen in the sense of a sacramental community at the respective place. In social and economic matters they work together with the 'organs' of the congregation. A number of congregations in a larger area form a 'region'.
According to their legal form they are foundations or associa- tions in Switzerland, in the Federal Republic of Germany mem- bers of a corporation under public law. There are different legal forms in other countries.
The Hierarchy within the priesthood
By ordination, priests receive the authority to execute all the sacraments. There are no different degrees of ordination.
For the the concrete circumstances of life and the organization of The Christian Community, however, it makes sense to dele- gate certain tasks within the priesthood which make it possible to make binding agreements beyond the local congregation.
In this context, the establishment of a hierarchy is to be unders- tood in which the priesthood creates an organ for itself through which it becomes capable of acting in paramount tasks. The individual priest hands over certain decision-making powers to this hierarchy – such as the 'sending' of priests to the respecti- ve congregations. The freedom of teaching for the individual priest and his organization of the congregational work are com- pletely unaffected by this.
The priests are active full-time; they are not elected by the congregations, but sent to them.