Parish Ministry Discernment
You Think You Might Be Called to Ordination?
Have you ever felt God nudging you towards a deepening of your ministry, perhaps even towards ordained ministry? Perhaps you dismissed this feeling or discussed it with a friend but did not know what to do about it. If you feel that call to deeper ministry, talk it over with your priest and with the bishop. If after those conversations, you wish to pursue the call further your priest will work with you to set up a Parish Discernment Group which will consist of clergy in your parish and 3-5 people who know you well.
Parish Discernment Group
The Parish Discernment Group will meet with you several times over a period of time (usually about 6 months) and assist you in discerning to what kind of ministry you feel called. This will involve some study of the ordinals in the BAS or BCP; the competencies required of an ordained person; your spiritual gifts; your spiritual journey and a discussion of why you feel called towards ordained ministry or a more focused lay ministry. Following these meetings, if you continue to feel a call to ordained ministry, you will complete an Application for Discernment towards Ordained Ministry which serves as an application to the Ministry Discernment Weekend held each fall. At the same time, your priest will complete the “Parish Commendation Form” and send it to the bishop. If the Parish Commendation Form confirms your call, the bishop will inform the chair of the Ministry Discernment Team and ask that a mentoring chaplain be assigned to you. Mentoring chaplains are responsible for assisting individuals as they continue through the process and act as a support for decision making.
Once the Ministry Discernment Weekend Application and the report of the Parish Discernment Group have been submitted to the bishop the Ministry Discernment Team will review the documentation. At this point your chaplain may contact you for further information or to help you prepare for the next step — the ministry discernment weekend. A ministry discernment weekend is held each fall. Everyone whose Ministry Discernment Weekend Application is submitted by July 15 and has been approved, will be invited to attend. Applications received after that date are considered for the following calendar year.
Ministry Discernment Weekend
At the ministry discernment weekend you will meet with a team of assessors who will continue to work with you on discerning the nature of your call. This takes place through a series of interviews on Friday evening and Saturday of the weekend. The weekend takes place at Bethlehem Centre in Nanaimo. Following the weekend, the assessors prepare a report to the bishop on future direction and one assessor, together with your chaplain, will meet with you a few days after the weekend to read that report and answer any questions. Shortly afterwards you will meet again with the bishop to discuss what the next steps will be for you. Your chaplain will meet with you again after that meeting and will be in contact with you from that point on to act as a mentor and friend during your journey with Christ.
Discernment for Ordination
The Parish Discernment Group provides support to candidates who, prior to ordination, have successfully engaged in/completed some form of formal theological education in the diocese or ecclesiastical province. This education is monitored by the bishop and by your mentoring chaplain who works with your parish group to support candidates to ordination.
After ordination and in the course of the first two years a Parish Discernment Group provides support to the presbyters/deacons. The particular community to which a presbyter/deacon is assigned accepts and welcomes that individual's ministry; is willing to work with the presbyter/deacon in the gospel; and, allows them the space for spiritual, mental and emotional growth.