If you believe God may be calling you towards Ordained Ministry then the first step is to share your thoughts and feelings with people you know and trust. Can they see this vocation in you? You should also have a conversation with your parish priest.
Before you can enter the formal process of discerning a call to Ordained Ministry you will need a referral from the incumbent (parish priest with overall responsibility) of the church where you worship, who should have known you for a minimum period of six months. (In cases where your parish is in vacancy, other arrangements for referral will be made. Contact us for details).
Your vocation to the priesthood needs to be realistic and informed so a good place to start the journey is our Shared Vocation Space – a programme running from September through to January each year. At other times of the year we will consider direct referrals where a level of knowledge and experience is evident.
NB Discernment Candidates commit to membership of our Shared Discernment Group which runs monthly events across the year and incorporates the Shared Vocation Space programme.
The Discernment Journey:
The journey is challenging, stimulating and extremely thorough. It looks for evidence of your spiritual and personal development over a period of time – at least a year – and involves reading, reflection and the fulfilment of a number of activities. It asks you difficult questions and explores patterns of relationships and behaviours right back to your early childhood.
We aim to be as inclusive as possible and do not seek to put artificial barriers in front of anyone whom we discern to be called to priesthood. We have no age limit. We acknowledge that the exploration can make considerable demands and we aim to support you as much as we possibly can.
Candidates once referred have an initial meeting with the Diocesan Director of Ordinands (DDO). Possible outcomes are:
- assignment to an Assistant DDO (or to the DDO) for one-to-one discernment
- recommendation to attend the Shared Vocation Space programme before entering formal discernment
- recommendation to wait until more experience of the Anglican church has been gained
- recommendation to consider other vocational pathways
The National Discernment Framework
Selection is always to training and is not a guarantee that you will eventually be ordained. Once in formal discernment you will be prepared for the new National Discernment Framework process of selection which replaces the old system of selection via a single Bishop’s Advisory Panel.
The new Framework is divided into two stages:
Stage 1: Carousel Conversations: September to February
Stage 2: Residential selection panel: March to July
The previous nine Formation Criteria have been replaced by six Qualities and you will be expected to show evidence of how you inhabit these qualities at both Stage 1 and Stage 2. The qualities are:
- Love for God
- Love for People
- Call to Ministry
Your conversations with your A/DDO, your study and your activities in your parish and elsewhere will help you to reflect on how you are able to show that you inhabit these qualities sufficiently to have your vocation confirmed by the national church.
Further enquiries: email DDO@dioceseofnorwich.org