Ordained Ministry

Our call to ministry as followers of Jesus begins with baptism.

We are first to take seriously the call to live out our baptismal vows before discernment to ordained ministry can effectively begin.  That’s what the “now” means in the examination of one to be ordained a deacon or priest:  “God now calls you . . .”

If you believe that God may be calling you to ordained ministry, the first step is to pray and to talk to others about how they see God working in your life and your existing ministry. And speak with the priest in charge of your congregation or community of faith.

If, after a significant period of time of conversation with your priest, she or he agrees that further exploration of the ordained ministry is a good next step for you, you would then attend the annual Explorers’ Retreat.  It is held on a Saturday in January or February at the Procter Center.  In the Diocese of  Southern Ohio, the Explorer’s Retreat is the entry point for the formal discernment process for ordained ministry.

More About the Ordination Process

Once you have attended the Explorers’ Retreat, you then will want to have further conversation with the clergyperson in your congregation or community of faith. After all you heard that day, is ordained ministry really the call you are sensing or might it be a call to something else? If you continue to believe you are called to ordained ministry, you have the opportunity to interview with members of the Commission on Ministry sometime in April. They will have read your autobiography and other materials submitted on your behalf. They will talk with you about your life, your current ministry, your sense of where God is leading you and why you believe ordination is a part of the ministry to which you are being called.

Some of those who are interviewed by the Commission will be invited to explore further lay ministry. Others will be invited to engage in further discernment with a Regional Discernment Committee formed in consultation with the Commission.

The Regional Discernment Committee will further explore your current ministry, your skills, talents, gifts and abilities and your sense of where God is leading you in your life and in your ministry. They will discern with you the traits the Commission on Ministry and Bishop Breidenthal are looking for in ordained leadership: Theologian, entrepreneur, and faith community organizer.

The discernment of the Regional Discernment Committee, the vestry or mission council of your congregation and your priest are all a part of the process. As you go through the process of articulating how you believe God is acting in your life they all will play a part in listening, praying and discerning what they hear God saying. If you, your Regional Discernment Committee and your priest all believe that God may be calling you to an ordained ministry, and the vestry or mission council also agrees, you will meet with the Commission on Ministry again. If the Commission also discerns a call to ordained ministry, they will recommend that the Bishop admit you as a postulant for Holy Orders. You will then be invited to engage in theological study and formation for ordination.

After a portion of your theological study is complete, you will apply for candidacy. The Commission on Ministry and the Standing Committee of the Diocese will consider a variety of recommendations and reports and will interview you. They will then recommend that the Bishop admit you as a candidate for Holy Orders.

After the completion of theological study and certification of competence, according to the canons, is Ordination to the diaconate or the transitional diaconate (for those who will later be ordained priests).

After ordination to the diaconate (or transitional diaconate) is a period of post-theological study and formation known as residency. The period of residency is two years. After a minimum of a year of residency, the transitional deacon can be ordained to the priesthood.

The Diaconate

“Every Christian is called to follow Jesus Christ, serving God the Father, through the power of the Holy Spirit. God now calls you to a special ministry of servanthood directly under your bishop. In the name of Jesus Christ, you are to serve all people, particularly the poor, the weak, the sick, and the lonely.” (BCP p. 543)

These words begin the examination of one to be ordained a deacon.

Priesthood

“The Church is the family of God, the body of Christ, and the temple of the Holy Spirit. All people are called to make Christ known as Savior and Lord, and to share in the renewing of his world. Now you are called to work as a pastor, priest, and teacher, together with your bishop and fellow presbyters, and to take your share in the councils of the Church” (BCP p. 531)

And so begins the examination of one to be ordained a priest.