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 short answers to some of the most Frequently Asked Questions about the ordination process.
The process begins with conversations with your family and your priest. The first formal step is to attend an Information Day with your spouse/partner and your priest. Information Day typically occurs the first Saturday of June each year.
- Chair: Rev. Kirsteen Wilkinson, St. Mark’s, Plainfield firstname.lastname@example.org
- Coordinator: Joyce Krauser, St. Paul’s, Indianapolis (email@example.com)
- Diocesan Staff: The Rev. Canon Debra Kissinger (317-926-5454 or 800-669-5786, Kissinger@indydio.org)
(* = Elected by Convention, ** = Elected by Standing Committee, *** = Bishop Appointment)
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- I’ve been thinking about what it means to be “called” to ministry. How can I be sure if I’m really hearing a call?
- This is difficult to answer, as no two callings are identical. It may start with a feeling deep inside, or it may start with someone in your congregation asking if you’ve ever thought of ordination. Call does not come strictly from your own inner feelings; it comes out of community. In identifying a call, a vital part of discerning and confirming 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. The first steps would be to meet with your parish priest, find a spiritual director if you have not already, and continue your prayers.
- Okay, I think I’m being called, what now?
- If your Priest agrees that you may have a vocation as an ordained minister, he or she and your spouse or partner (if applicable) will accompany you to the diocesan Information Day held in June. Then you will meet 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. The information packet you will receive at Information Day will explain the additional steps required for admission as a Postulant, including your meetings with a diocesan Discernment Group.
- How long does the process to ordination take?
- The short answer is, “It takes as long as it takes.” Specifically, the initial phase prior to being made a Postulant is designed to take just a little over a year, but some people extend that time of discernment. If you attend Information Day in June and complete all the steps necessary, you may be invited to the meet with the Commission on Ministry at their October retreat the following year to interview for the Postulancy.Following Commission on Ministry fall retreat, the COM will make its recommendations to the Bishop concerning admission to Postulancy, which is the first phase of the ordination process, and the Bishop will meet with you and determine your status and plan for formation.
- You then begin your education and training.There are two educational tracks: one for the Diaconate, and one for the Priesthood. The Diaconate track may take three or four years. The Priesthood track also may take three to four years, partly determined by whether you are a part-time or full-time student. At Information Day the COM provides a document entitled “Ordination Process.” Please take a look at that document for a list of all the requirements.
- Do I have to move away to a residential seminary? How much will all this cost?
- 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.