The Commission on Ministry (COM) is an advisory group of lay and ordained persons elected by the Diocese and appointed by the Bishop to assist Bishop Jennifer with the ordination process.
If you or someone you knows feels a sense of call to ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church, you may have questions about where and how to start a process of further discernment.
On this page you will find a summary of the basic elements of call and steps to ordination.
Chair: The Rev. Marc Vance, St. Paul’s Columbus
Diocesan Staff: Canon Kristin White
Discerning a Call
A sense of call may start deep inside yourself, or it may start with someone else asking a simple question, such as whether you’ve ever thought of ordination. When God called the boy Samuel, it was Eli, the priest, who recognized that it was God’s voice Samuel was hearing even before Samuel knew what was happening. Call doesn’t exist in a vacuum, but is borne out in community. As you listen for God’s call, a vital part of discernment is working closely with mentors and seeking the advice of seasoned clergy. The church’s role in helping you recognize your call is paramount and must not be overlooked.
Once you believe you have heard a call:
- Connect with a trusted resource within the church, such as your parish priest;
- Find a spiritual director if you have not already; and
- Continue your prayers.
If your priest agrees that you may have a vocation as an ordained minister, your next steps will include:
- Attending the Diocesan Information Day held annually in June, accompanied by your priest (and your spouse, if you’re married).
- Meeting with representatives of the congregation who will help you to clarify your call and to further discern how God may be calling you to use your gifts, whether in lay ministry or as a Deacon or Priest.This group will also write a letter to the Bishop and the diocesan Commission on Ministry with its recommendations regarding consideration as a Postulant for ordination.
- Reviewing the information packet you will receive at Information Day to learn about the additional steps required for admission as a Postulant, including your meetings with a diocesan Discernment Group.
Ordination is a process that requires a commitment of several years.
Pre-postulate phase: Although the initial phase of entering the ordination process can occur within the space of twelve months, timing relies on many factors, including when you begin exploring your sense of call and how your mentors recommend that you proceed. The first step is attendance at the annual June Information Day.
Postulancy: After attending the Information Day and reviewing the material, the next step is attendance at an October Commission on Ministry Retreat. This meeting is by invitation of the COM, and may occur in the same year or in a subsequent year after attending the Information Day, depending upon your process and circumstances.
COM will make their recommendations to the Bishop after the fall retreat. If they recommend you for postulancy, you will meet with the Bishop and determine your status and plan for formation.
Education and Training
There are two educational tracks: one for the Diaconate, and one for the Priesthood. You will discern with your mentors which track to enter. Both tracks require three to four years of education. The length of study is partly determined by whether you are a part-time or full-time student.
- Diaconal training takes place in the Diocese of Indianapolis. You will attend weekend and online classes and retreats during your preparation.
- Ordination to the Priesthood requires a Master of Divinity degree. You may either go away to a residential Episcopal seminary and/or the Bishop may allow you to participate in local training opportunities, as long as you get the required courses in Anglican studies.
Seminary and training costs will vary according to degree and location. Limited scholarships may be available; however, most, if not all, of the cost will be borne by the individual. For further information on funding your seminary education, visit seminary websites, and research scholarships here.
(* = Elected by Convention, ** = Elected by Standing Committee, *** = Bishop Appointment)
TERMS EXPIRE 2019
- The Rev. Fatima Yakubu-Madus*
- Larry Johnson*
- The Rev. Mike Scime**
- The Rev. Cathy Scott***
TERMS EXPIRE 2020
- The Rev. Karen Sullivan*
- Becky Ridder*
- The Rev. Marc Vance***
- Maria Langston**
TERMS EXPIRE 2021
The Rev. Shannon MacVean-Brown*
- The Rev. Canon Kristin White, Diocesan Liaison
- The Rev. Connie Peppler, Archdeacon
Helpful documents you will need as you discern your call to ministry can be found on our Forms and Documents page.