Discernment to Ordained Ministry

Discernment is following the promptings of the Holy Spirit to pursue whether God is calling you to something more, a new or different ministry, or to a vocation. Vocation is derived from the Latin vocare, to call, summon or name. As Parker Palmer writes in Let Your Life Speak, “Vocation does not mean a goal that I pursue. It means a calling that I hear. Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am.”

Discernment requires much prayer, scripture reading, and the practice of serving others. God may be calling you to something you are good at, care about, and enjoy doing. Points to consider: What sort of personality do I have? What are your my gifts? Do I possess qualities for leadership? What do those who know you best, think?  Resources to help guide you in your individual discernment.

Beginning the Discernment Process

Discernment for ordination is the work of the church, a communal affair, not a solitary or small group task. Therefore, if you have been thinking and praying about how God is calling you to serve and are considering ordained ministry as a deacon or priest, you should read the guide, Called To Lead, and then begin your discernment process by following these steps:

  1. An individual wishing to begin a more formal process of discernment must be an active participant in an Episcopal community within The Episcopal Church in Colorado and be confirmed or received into The Episcopal Church. His or her Rector or Vicar can request a Congregational Discernment Training and Initiation of Aspirancy by completing Form A. Once training is complete, please return Form B to the Office of the Bishop.
  2. Meet with your rector or vicar  to start a  journey of prayerful exploration of a possible call. In addition, connect with a Spiritual Director (www.spiritualdirectioncolorado.org) and  begin meeting with your Spiritual Director on a regular basis. Read more about the Clergy-Aspirant Relationship.
  3. Attend Road to Ministry Leadership (information below).
  4. Form and meet with a Congregational Discernment Committee for more rigorous and intentional discernment. Your Congregational Discernment Committee (CDC) must be  trained by a representative of  the Commission on Ministry. Request a training for your Congregational Discernment Committee by contacting Dianne Draper at Dianne@EpiscopalColorado.org or 303.837.1173.

Road to Ministry Leadership

Watch the following sessions presented at the Road to Ministry Leadership held in May 2016.

Becoming a Nominee for Ordained Ministry

  • If your Vestry/Bishop’s Committee and your sponsoring clergy feel that discernment by the wider church is warranted, discernment then moves to the diocesan level to involve participation in an annual BACOM (Bishop’s Advisory Committee on Ordained Ministry) Retreat. At this retreat, the Bishop makes decisions regarding postulancy for ordination to the diaconate or to the priesthood.  Admission to postulancy represents the church’s conclusion that an individual is called to ordained ministry and confirms the church’s commitment of support in response to that call. The BACOM retreat is held annually in early November at Cathedral Ridge Episcopal Camp and Conference Center, Woodland Park, CO.

Please direct inquires and questions to the Executive Assistant to the Canon to the Ordinary, Dianne Draper at Dianne@EpiscopalColorado.org or call 303-837-1173.