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Ordination Process – Priesthood

NOTE: These applications and procedures are designed to conform with the requirements outlined in Title III of the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church. Anyone interested in ordination should familiarize themselves with this section of the canons. Read the Constitution and Canons.

Nominee

To apply as a nominee (someone who is just beginning the discernment process to become a priest)

If you are interested in ordination, you should first discuss your interest with your parish priest. After you and your priest have met together over a period of time, then you may complete the application process for nominee.

  1. Complete the Application.
  2. Request from the local clergy a letter of recommendation to enter a formal discernment process. Provide evidence that the applicant is a confirmed adult in good standing as a communicant in a local congregation for a minimum of one year.
  3. Submit a letter of support from the Vestry and clergy, which includes the financial commitment from the parish and stating that the nominee is a confirmed adult communicant in good standing.
  4. Submit a statement of call and a spiritual autobiography, no more than four written pages. Answer the social history questions on the back of the application. Complete the financial statement form  as part of the application process.
  5. Submit a copy of the applicant’s record of baptism and confirmation.
  6. Submit a current photograph, either in print or digitally.
  7. Please attach to the application a check for $200 to cover the cost of a criminal background check, which will be initiated by the Administrator of the Commission on Ministry and conducted by Oxford Document Management Company.

Within 45 days, the Bishop will write a letter of response to the applicant’s request to be named a Nominee. The Bishop may invite the applicant to become a nominee at this time. The nominee accepts the nomination in writing within 30 days of receipt of the letter of invitation.


Postulant

To apply as a postulant

When the materials listed below are received by the Administrator of the Commission on Ministry, the application then will be placed on the agenda for consideration at a bi-annual Commission on Ministry meeting. The application and materials must be received four weeks prior to the Commission on Ministry meeting. Normally, the Commission on Ministry considers postulancy applications in January and September.

  1. Complete an Application for Postulancy.
  2. Complete a psychiatric evaluation, using the list of approved psychiatrists. Be certain to take to the examiner the list of instructions provided, as well as the form on which they are to make a report to the bishop.
  3. Complete a medical examination, using the form provided by the diocese.
  4. Send official transcripts from colleges and universities to the Canon to the Ordinary.

When the steps above have been completed, the Bishop will review the material and schedule a meeting with the nominee. The Bishop will review the application, transcripts, background check and clergy recommendations before an interview is scheduled with the applicant. If the Bishop consents to further exploration of the call, then the nominee will meet with the Commission on Ministry. The bishop, in consultation with the Commission on Ministry, will then make a decision about whether or not to admit you as a postulant. This decision will be communicated to you by letter within three weeks of your meeting with the Commission on Ministry.


Ember Weeks

Each Postulant or Candidate for ordination to the Priesthood shall communicate with the Bishop in person or by letter, four times a year, in the Ember Weeks, reflecting on the Candidate’s academic experience and personal and spiritual development.

Ember days are three days which occur four times a year: the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after St. Lucy’s Day (Dec. 13), Ash Wednesday, the Day of Pentecost, and Holy Cross Day (Sept. 14). 


Candidate

To apply as a candidate

During the fall of your final year at the Bishop Kemper School for Ministry or a residential seminary, you should apply to be a candidate for ordination.

  1. Submit an Application for Candidacy.
  2. Submit a letter of support from the postulant’s Vestry and clergy. It must be dated and signed by two-thirds of the vestry and by a member of the clergy.
  3. Once these materials you have been received, you will meet with the Standing Committee of the diocese (a subgroup of the Council of Trustees) sometime in October-January of your final year at Bishop Kemper School for Ministry or a residential seminary. The Standing Committee then will make a recommendation to the Bishop. The Bishop’s decision on your application for candidacy will be communicated to you by letter, within three weeks of your meeting with the Standing Committee.

Transitional Deacon

To apply for ordination as a transitional deacon (after candidacy requirements and education have been completed)

  1. Submit an Application for Ordination to the Transitional Diaconate.
  2. Submit the “Letter of Support and Commitment” from the Vestry.

Eligibility for ordination:

  1. There should be no fewer than 18 months from the time of written acceptance of nomination to ordination to the diaconate.
  2. The candidate must be at least 24 years of age.
  3. Within thirty-six months prior to ordination as a Deacon under Canon III.8.5(k), the following must be accomplished:
    1. a background check, according to criteria established by the Bishop and Standing Committee.
    2. medical and psychological evaluation by professionals approved by the Bishop, using forms prepared for the purpose by The Church Pension Fund, and if desired or necessary, psychiatric referral.
  4. Secure a ministry position. To be released from this diocese, the candidate must seek the Bishop’s approval.

To complete the application file, the candidate must contact those responsible for submitting the following information:

  1. Certificate from the seminary or other program of preparation.
  2. Candidate must demonstrate basic competence in seven general areas as described in the canons. General Ordination Examination (GOE) test scores are mailed to the diocesan office. The candidate may be requested to meet with the Board of Examining Chaplains before the Commission on Ministry writes a recommendation to the Council of Trustees (Standing Committee).
  3. The Commission on Ministry may request an interview. A recommendation then is submitted to the Standing Committee.
  4. The Bishop submits a Certificate to Standing Committee with dates of the person’s postulancy and candidacy, obtained from the registrar.
  5. The Standing Committee Testimonial is given to the Bishop.

Ordination as a Priest

To apply for ordination as a priest (after the canonical period as a transitional deacon has been completed)

  1. Submit an Application for Ordination to the Priesthood.
  2. Submit the “Letter of Support and Commitment” from the Vestry.
  3. Submit a continuing education plan.

Eligibility for ordination:

  1. There should be no fewer six months since ordination as a Deacon and 18 months from the time of acceptance of nomination to ordination to the priesthood.
  2. The candidate must be at least 24 years of age.
  3. Medical evaluation, psychological evaluation, and background check have taken place or been updated within 36 months prior to ordination as a priest.
  4. Secure a ministry position. To be released from this diocese, the candidate must seek the Bishop’s approval.

To complete the application file, the candidate must contact those responsible for submitting the following information:

  1. Certificate from the seminary or other program of preparation.
  2. Candidate must demonstrate basic competence in seven general areas as described in the canons. General Ordination Examination (GOE) test scores are mailed to the diocesan office. The candidate may be requested to meet with the Board of Examining Chaplains before the Commission on Ministry writes a recommendation to the Council of Trustees (Standing Committee).
  3. The Commission on Ministry may request an interview. A recommendation then is submitted to Standing Committee.
  4. The Bishop submits a Certificate to Standing Committee with dates of the person’s postulancy and candidacy, obtained from the registrar.
  5. The Standing Committee Testimonial is given to the Bishop.

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