Vocation & Call

Where do you begin when you sense that God is calling you to leadership in the Church? In prayer and discernment and an ever expanding circle of faithful people who discern with you.  

Beginning the Discernment Process

Vocational discernment begins and ends with listening for the Holy Spirit, starting with the individual (or seeker) and extending into ever-widening communities of discernment. The essential question of discernment is, "What is God calling me to?" a question that seeks to understand how the seeker's gifts best serve the world through Christ--it is a question that must be answered in community, and by community. We seek to affirm a seeker's gifts by listening for the Holy Spirit in discernment for Church leadership.

In the Diocese of Virginia, there are two main components to vocational discernment: the discernment retreat and the parish discernment committee.

What kind of ministry might God be calling you to? Begin the discernment process.

Read Paths to Discipleship, a broader outline of discernment and formation in the Diocese of Virginia. 

Lay Leaders

According to 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 leaders work in the church and the world as teachers, pastoral care givers, parish administrators, chaplains, church communicators, spiritual directors, vestry members and much more. More info.


According to 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 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.

Religious Orders

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 from the Episcopal Church's website.


Contact Ed Keithly, Vocational Development Minister, with questions: ekeithly@thediocese.net.