Appointed by the Bishop, their role is to come alongside people who are at a crossroads or who sense they're being called in a new direction.
They don’t have answers but bring a listening ear and questions to help you tease out where that call may be leading. They may be able to signpost you to useful reading, or the right person to talk to. They may suggest you keep a journal, sign up for a training day, or go and experience something at first hand and meet the people involved. Underlying your meetings is a spirit of prayer and listening for the word of the Lord.
Vocation Advisors often find themselves working with people exploring a calling to be ordained or to other recognised ministry, e.g. as a Reader. But vocation is first of all about who you are and where God is calling you, whether or not you’re a potential ‘minister’. One person came to a Vocation Advisor with a question about ordained ministry that wouldn’t go away. A few months later her calling was clear to her, and she started training – as a midwife.
Discerning your calling
If you are wondering if God is calling you to ordained or other recognised ministry, speak with your vicar/parish priest first. The next step is to contact a Vocation Advisor and spend time with them, before the more formal process of selection can begin. Your vicar/parish priest might recommend you contact a diocesan officer first with questions about training, particular types of ministry, or other practical issues; but in nearly every case, working with a Vocation Advisor is an essential preliminary to the more formal stage of discernment.
Meetings with your Vocation Advisor are confidential. There is a brief referral form if/when you agree you’re ready for the next stage of discernment. This outlines work you’ve covered together (e.g. any books you’ve read) but does not report on the conversations you’ve had.
How do I find a Vocation Advisor?
The Bishop has appointed several Vocation Advisors who are working across the diocese. You’ll find their contact details through the link below. Often people contact a Vocation Advisor directly, or their vicar or other clergy might refer them. If you want to explore ordained or other ministry, you should have spoken about it with your vicar / parish priest first.