Diocesan vocation advisors are appointed by the Bishop to assist in helping potential candidates to explore vocations to ministry in the Church, and in providing a pastoral support to complement the care given by parish clergy.
Individuals may be referred to vocation advisors by clergy or other ministers, by one of the diocesan officers involved with ministerial selection or training, or they may make their own approach.
Anyone considering a calling to ministry, whether they have a particular ministry in mind or simply wish to explore where God may be calling them in an open way, should be put in touch with one of the vocation advisors, rather than with any other officer in the Diocese. Those concerned with ministerial selection will become involved if and when it is clear that a person's sense of vocation is directed to an accredited ministry, and it seems right that this sense should be tested by the formal processes of the Church. This includes potential candidates for Reader ministry and for ordained ministry, whether locally focussed (Ordained Local Ministry) or more widely deployable (Stipendiary or Non-Stipendiary Ministry).
Anyone considering a vocation to religious community life, Church Army evangelism, or any other particular calling in the Church not mentioned here, may either contact a vocation advisor or else make direct contact with the appropriate body.
The team of vocation advisors jointly represent a variety of ministries, and this enables them to help and advise each other in particular cases. However, every advisor is appointed to look after potential candidates for any form of ministry, and not only those who may be called to a particular advisor's own ministry.
Normally, it is convenient to contact the nearest vocation advisor, who may refer someone to a different advisor in due course if it seems right to do so. There is a limit to the number of people with whom each advisor can work, and anyone approaching a vocation advisor needs to be ready for the possibility that the chosen advisor is not in a position to accept them.
An advisor works with a person to the point at which he or she begins formal candidacy procedures or decides not to proceed, and continues to provide help and support while candidacy procedures continue. The vocation advisor's role ends when someone ceases to be a candidate for ministry.