Commission on Ministry

Chairs: The Rev. Marlene Forrest and Mr. Tom Hahn
Staff Liaison: Ed Keithly, 800-DIOCESE 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 Convention of the Diocese. The Commission meets for three or four times each year, plus an overnight retreat. 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 Goff 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 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.

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/Discernment Facilitators meet twice per year and hosts a training weekend for new facilitators. On average, facilitators train and guide two or three Parish Discernment Committees each year.

Discernment webpage

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

Young Priest Initiative

Mission: Oversee a program of identifying young adults (Juniors and seniors in college and those up to six years out of college) 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.

YPI webpage.

Director: The Rev. Lee Gandiya; Rector, St. Paul's, King George

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 about six daylong meetings each year. In addition, each member serves as a contact person for one or more persons in formation for diaconal ministry.

Postulancy/candidacy application webpage

Chair: The Rev. Deacon Holly Hanback; St. Gabriel's, Leesburg 

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 about six daylong meetings each year. In addition, each member of the committee serves as a contact person for persons in formation for priesthood.

Postulancy/candidacy application webpage

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

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.

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 clergy in new cures; 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.

 Fresh Start webpage. 

Chair: The Rev. Megan Limburg; Grace, Kilmarnock