Exploring Ordained Ministry Invitations

A person who senses that God might be inviting him or her to explore a call to ordained ministry should enter into spiritual and pastoral discussions with the Rector/Vicar to begin the process of prayer and discernment within the congregation. It is also necessary for that person to be in an ongoing relationship with a spiritual director.

The Rector/Vicar, if/when she or he believes it to be appropriate will arrange an initial interview for the discerner to meet with the Bishop. After meeting with the Bishop, the discerner may or may not be invited to begin the formal discernment process.

If the Bishop gives approval to begin the formal process, the Rector/Vicar will connect the discerner to the CCOM. Before the initial meeting with the CCOM, the Rector/Vicar should ensure that the discerner understands the process to be followed.

The CCOM will enter with the discerner into a deeper, intentional exploration of a possible call to ordination. The role of the CCOM is not to prove or disprove a call, but to engage with and support the discerner in a process of prayerful, attentive, focused listening.

There can be no fixed time-line for this discernment. Ideally the discerner and CCOM members will enter the process together; willing to hear whatever God might be saying and will come prayerfully to a consensus. The CCOM then reports conclusions and recommendations to the Vestry, and the Vestry makes a decision to recommend or not recommend the discerner to the Bishop.

If the decision is to recommend to the Bishop, the Rector/Vicar ensures that the discerner is provided with all necessary forms for the formal application process and will work closely with the discerner to gather all required materials. Upon receipt of a completed application, the Bishop decides whether to invite the discerner to attend a Discernment Weekend with the Diocesan Commission on Ministry and the Standing Committee. At the conclusion of the Discernment Weekend, the Commission on Ministry and the Standing Committee make a recommendation to the Bishop regarding Postulancy. If the recommendation is accepted by the Bishop, Postulancy begins.

© 2013 The Episcopal Diocese of Northern California.

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