Commission on Ministry

Chair: Mr. Tom Hahn and the Rev. Bambi Willis
Staff Liaisons: The Rev. Canon Patrick Wingo and Ed Keithly, 800-DIOCESE x1024 or x1015

What is the Commission on Ministry?

The Commission on Ministry assists the Bishop in determining present and future needs for ministry in the Diocese and in overseeing the work of all diocesan ministry-related committees. It consists of the chairpersons of all the Committees that fall under its purview plus a few at large members. Members are appointed by the Bishop and affirmed by the Annual Council of the Diocese. The Commission meets for three or four half day meetings a year, plus an overnight retreat each year. Between meetings, members of the Commission oversee the committee work assigned to them.

In many dioceses, the Commission on Ministry is charged with the "vetting" of future priests and deacons. This is not so in our diocese. In Virginia, the work of interviewing and recommending postulants to Bishop Johnston is primarily the work of the Committee on Priesthood and the Committee on the Diaconate, sub-committees of the commission. The Commission on Ministry makes recommendations on how to face trends in formation and discernment for leadership in this Church.

Canonical Precedent for the Commission on Ministry

Title III, Canon 2 of the Constitution & Canons of the Episcopal Church outlines the specific roles of the Commission:

  • Sec. 1. In each Diocese there shall be a Commission on Ministry ("Commission") consisting of Priests, Deacons, if any, and Lay Persons. The Canons of each Diocese shall provide for the number of members, terms of office, and manner of selection to the Commission.
  • Sec. 2. The Commission shall advise and assist the Bishop:
    • (a) In the implementation of Title III of these Canons.
    • (b) In the determination of present and future opportunities and needs for the ministry of all baptized persons.
    • (c) In the design and oversight of the ongoing process for recruitment, discernment, formation for ministry,
      and assessment of readiness therefore.
  • Sec. 4. The Commission may establish committees consisting of members and other persons to report to the Commission or to act on its behalf.
  • Sec. 5. The Bishop and Commission shall ensure that the members of the Commission and its committees receive ongoing education and training for their work.

Our Commission's Seven Sub-Committees

Committee on Discernment

Mission: Develop and oversee the discernment process for those experiencing a call to ministry; recruit, train and support Diocesan Spiritual Discernment Facilitators; design and lead Diocesan Discernment Retreats; provide advice and counsel to the Bishop on matters related to discernment; serve as a resource on discernment for the Diocese.

Diocesan Spiritual Discernment Facilitators work with congregations in forming and supporting Parish Discernment Committees which, in turn, work with members of the congregation who are discerning a call to leadership in the Church.

The Committee meets three to four times each year. In addition, each member of the committee trains and works with two or three Parish Discernment Committees each year.

Chair: Mr. Tom Hahn and the Rev. Bambi Willis

Committee On Leadership Formation

Mission: Develop and oversee the Episcopal Leadership Institute, including development and regular review of curriculum, and recruitment and oversight of ELI staff and adjunct faculty; provide advice and counsel to the Bishop on matters related to leadership formation; serve as a resource on leadership formation for the Diocese.

Committee on the Diaconate

Mission: Oversee the formation of vocational deacons, including assisting individuals and parishes with the nomination and application process, providing continuing support to those in the diaconal formation process and developing and overseeing the education and formation programs for deacons; interview those who are prepared and make recommendations regarding postulancy, candidacy and ordination; provide advice and counsel to the Bishop on matters related to the diaconate; serve as a resource on the diaconate for the Diocese.

The Committee on the Diaconate gathers for six to eight full day meetings year. In addition, each member serves as a contact person for one or more persons in formation for diaconal ministry.

Chair: The Rev. Deacon Holly Hanback; St. James', Warrenton

Committee on Priesthood

Mission: Oversee the formation of priests, including assisting individuals and parishes with the nomination and application process, provide continuing support to persons in the priestly formation process; interview those who are prepared and make recommendations regarding postulancy, candidacy and ordination; provide advice and counsel to the Bishop on matters related to priesthood; serve as a resource on priesthood for the Diocese.

The committee gathers for seven to nine full day meetings a year. In addition, each member of the committee serves as a contact person for persons in formation for priesthood.

Chair: The Rev. Randy Alexander; Immannuel Church-on-the-Hill, Alexandria

Young Priest Initiative

Mission: Oversee a program of identifying persons under the age of 25 who are exploring a possible call to leadership in the Church; provide a structured process of discernment and a parish internship program to assist young persons in exploring their call; provide advice and counsel to the Bishop on matters related to young clergy; serve as a resource on priesthood for younger persons for the Diocese.

The YPI committee gathers to do its work in four to eight half day meetings each year. Committee members serve as contact and support persons for those in the program.

Visit the YPI webpage.

Co-Chairs: The Rev. Laura Lockey; Campus Missioner, James Madison University, Harrisonburg; and the Rev. Allison Liles

Diocesan Board of Examining Chaplains

Mission: Read, review and evaluate General Ordination Examinations for persons seeking priesthood; develop, administer, review and evaluate written and oral exams for persons seeking the diaconate and for clergy ordained by bishops of churches in the historic succession but not in communion with this church; recommend and oversee any remedial work required for candidates to demonstrate proficiency in the areas required by the canons of the Church; provide advice and counsel to the Bishop on matters related to GOEs and related examinations; serve as a resource on theological education for the Diocese.

The board conducts most of its work electronically and meets in person once or twice a year.

Chair: The Rev. Dr. Craig Phillips; St. Peter’s, Arlington

Committee on Continuing Clergy Formation (Fresh Start)

Mission: Develop and administer the Fresh Start program for newly ordained clergy and clergy new to the Diocese; provide advice and counsel to the Bishop on matters related to continuing clergy formation; serve as a resource on continuing clergy formation for the Diocese.

The Committee meets monthly to administer and oversee the Fresh Start program.

Chair: The Rev. Megan Limburg; Grace, Kilmarnock