From Greg Goebel, at Christ Church Plano TX:
The vast majority of Christians are called to ministry as laity, and a few are called to ordained ministry. Anglicans retain the ancient three-fold pattern of ordained ministry, the orders of bishop, priest, and deacon. From among the laity, some are called to the order of deacons and some are called to the order of priests. From among the priests, some are called to the order of Bishop.
Deacons bridge the gap between laity and the clergy, and between the needs of the world and the ministry of the church. They are called to sacramental, liturgical, and pastoral care ministries, especially ministries of compassion in the community. Specifically, the Deacon assists the Priest in worship and administration of the sacraments, cares for the poor, the sick, and the outcast, and assists in pastoral care. The order of deacon is not a lesser order than the order of priest. Instead, it is a specific calling that has its own focus and purpose.
Priests are presbyters, or elders, who lead congregations and ministries, or assist other priests in leading, by providing a ministry of Word and Sacrament on behalf of the Bishop. Candidates for the priesthood are first ordained as deacons (called “Transitional” Deacons) in order that they might begin their ministry in the role of a servant, and be tested.
The diocesan Bishop leads the diocese as Chief Pastor, and the Bishops in Council lead the whole church. The Bishops and the Archbishop maintain visible communion with Anglican churches across the world, as well as maintaining fellowship with other faithful Christian churches.
We are ordained not for ourselves, but in order to serve. Those aspiring to ordained ministry must, therefore, show a sense of personal call which is then confirmed by the laity and clergy of their local church, with the Bishop making the final decision. They must be examined in order to determine their preparation and fitness for leadership and ministry. And they must have a specific ministry plan that requires ordination to the order to which they aspire.