Overview of the Discernment Process
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Where do you begin when you sense that God is calling you to ministry? In prayer and discernment and an ever expanding circle of faithful people who discern with you.
Start the Process
To begin responding to a perceived call to ministry, speak with a priest in your parish and ask him or her to recommend you for a diocesan discernment retreat. Attendance at one of these retreats, typically held three times a year in the diocese, is the first step in formally discerning what God is calling you to do and be.
To what kind of ministry might God be calling you?
According to the Catechism in the Book of Common Prayer, “The ministry of lay persons is to represent Christ and his Church; to bear witness to him wherever they may be; and, according to the gifts given them, to carry on Christ’s work of reconciliation in the world; and to take their place in the life, worship, and governance of the Church.”
Lay ministers work in the church and the world. They include teachers, pastoral care givers, parish administrators, parish nurses, spiritual directors, vestry members and many, many others. More info.
According to the Catechism in The Book of Common Prayer, “The ministry of a deacon is to represent Christ and his Church, particularly as a servant of those in need; and to assist bishops and priests in the proclamation of the Gospel and the administration of the sacraments.” More info.
According to the Catechism in The Book of Common Prayer, “The ministry of a priest is to represent Christ and his Church, particularly as a pastor to the people; to share with the bishop in the overseeing of the Church; to proclaim the Gospel; to administer the sacraments; and to bless and declare pardon in the name of God.” More info.
Christians have a long history of living together in community, dedicating themselves to prayer and worship. The Episcopal Church has a wide range of religious orders, some traditional orders, some more contemporary communities. More info.
Links to More Information
- Read this overview of the discernment process.
- Contact Ed Keithly, adult vocation officer, with further questions: email@example.com.
- Guidelines for a Presenting Priest