The Path to Priesthood
A priest is an ordained leader who is called to serve a community as pastor, worship leader and teacher, and to take a share in the councils of the Church. A priest proclaims by word and deed the Gospel of Jesus Christ, cares alike for young and old, strong and weak, rich and poor, preaches, declares God’s forgiveness, pronounces God’s blessing, and shares in the administration of Holy Baptism and Holy Eucharist. (BCP pg. 531)
- Read Paths to Discipleship, an outline of discernment and formation in the Diocese of Virginia.
- Read The Characteristics of Effective Clergy.
Applying for Postulancy
Before applying for postulancy, seekers in the Diocese of Virginia spend time in community discerning what God is calling them to and how they might best answer that call. Information on vocational discernment.
Once the seeker's parish discernment committee completes its work, the seeker may begin applying for postulancy with the support of his/her presenting priest. The presenting priest should email Ed Keithly and Vicky Bickel to request a contact from the Committee on Priesthood. The contact will assist the seeker in applying for postulancy.
Postulancy Interview Dates
Aspirants will be scheduled for an interview after the aspirant's contact to the Committee on Priesthood affirms the aspirant is ready to go forward.
- Mon., January 25 (10a-12p, approx.), via Zoom
or Wed., February 3, (1:30-3:30p, approx.), via Zoom
- Complete application for either date due January 4. See below (esp. Postulancy Application Checklist) for details on the application.
- Aspirants hoping to interview Jan. 25 or Feb. 3 are asked to hold both dates, but will be scheduled for one of the two.
- Mon. March 8 (10a-12p, approx.), via Zoom
or Wed., March 15, (1:30-3:30p, approx.), via Zoom
- Complete application for either date due February 8. See below (esp. Postulancy Application Checklist) for details on the application.
- Aspirants hoping to interview Mar. 8 or 15 are asked to hold both dates, but will be scheduled for one of the two.
- Mon. Oct 25 and/or Nov. 3, location TBD
- Application due a month in advance of the interview. See below (esp. Postulancy Application Checklist) for details on the application.
- Please note that while the Jan.-Mar. interview dates above would allow for someone to begin seminary/formation in fall 2021, those interviewing on these dates would begin formation in fall 2022, God willing.
Click here to see the "Memo to Aspirants Preparing for a Postulancy Interview." An agenda and this document will be emailed to the aspirant two weeks before the interview, but aspirants should read the memo earlier than that. See especially the note about the support team (#4), as the aspirant's supporters may need more than two weeks notice in order to attend.
Postulancy Application Materials
- Postulancy Application Checklist
- Initial Application to Commission on Ministry
- Personal History & Reflections template
- Medical Examination Form
- Psychological Evaluation Cover Letter
- Background Check
- Request: Please email Vicky Bickel and include your full name (include maiden if applicable) and mailing address.
- Payment: The final cost of the background check is determined once the check is complete. The average report runs approximately $100. Payments may be paid by the aspirant or presenting parish, but it is ultimately the aspirant's responsibility to ensure payment after receiving the invoice from the diocese.
Vestry Support Letters
Signing the Vestry Letters during Covid-tide: The Vestry doesn’t have to meet in person, or run themselves ragged passing around a paper copy. The vestry should hold a Zoom meeting or conference call. At that meeting, a Vestry member offers a motion to have the vestry support for postulancy (or candidacy or ordination), the vestry votes, then the Senior Warden signs the document and writes on the document the names of all who voted in favor. The Senior Warden can then scan a copy of that form and email it to Vicky Bickel (firstname.lastname@example.org). Then, at a later point in time when the Vestry are able to meet in person again, all can sign another physical copy for the file. (This method has been vetted and approved by the Chancellor and the Canon to the Ordinary of the Diocese of Virginia.)
- Vestry Letter of Support for Postulancy
- Vestry Letter of Support for Candidacy
- Vestry Letter of Support for Ordination as a Deacon
- Vestry Letter of Support for Ordination as a Priest
Applying for Candidacy
Postulants apply for candidacy about midway through their formation process. Whereas postulancy interviews are primarily concerned someone's call to and innate gifts for the priesthood, candidacy interviews are primarily concerned with the progress a postulant has made in formation.
Some months prior to an interview, Ed Keithly and Vicky Bickel will email the class interviewing for candidacy to convey information about the application, interview dates, due dates for the application. For most, candidacy interviews begin with an interview with the Committee on Priesthood some time in April or May of their middler year.
Candidacy Interview Dates
- Committee on Priesthood: Postulants will be scheduled for an interview with the Committee on Priesthood, receiving information about their application some months before the interview date from Vicky and/or Ed.
- Mon. Apr. 19, 2021 via Zoom (application due April 2)
- Wed. May 26, 2021 via Zoom (application due May 3)
- Standing Committee: Postulants will be scheduled for an interview with the Standing Committee, typically learning of the date of that interview at the same time they learn of the date for their interview with the Committee on Priesthood. Standing Committee interviews are almost always at St. George's, Fredericksburg.
- Bishop: Postulants will be scheduled for an interview with the Bishop who, with a recommendation and the consent of the Standing Committee, officially accepts postulants as candidates. Interviews are typically scheduled for within a month after the Standing Committee interview.
Candidacy Application Materials
Please send electronic copies to Vicky Bickel. Postulants should maintain a copy of all documents for their own records.
- Candidacy Application Checklist
- Postulants should use this to track the pieces of the candidacy application. Be sure to note the naming convention for documents.
- Candidacy Application Form
- Vestry Letter of Support for Candidacy
- Signed by the postulant's presenting parish, the parish that supported their application for postulancy.
- Postulants should see that this gets on the agenda for the vestry meeting two months prior to when the candidacy application is due. E.g., if the application is due in April, the Vestry should sign the letter at their February meeting.
- CPE: the supervisor’s evaluation and the self-evaluation
- Field Education: the work-learning agreement, the supervisor’s evaluation, the lay committee evaluation, and the self-evaluation for each semester completed at the time of the interview
- Seminary Transcript and Evaluation: postulants should be sure that their seminary will send in a recent copy of their transcript as well as their middler evaluation, if applicable
- Mid-Atlantic Parish Training Program: most will complete Mid-Atlantic after receiving candidacy, but if a postulant has completed Mid-Atlantic out of sequence, s/he should let Vicky know and so those evals can be included in the application.
- Exceptions: Postulants who have not yet completed or have been excused from anything listed above should email Vicky explaining their circumstances to be sure that will be noted in the application.