Journey to Ordained Ministry: Phase One
The Vocations Advocate has an initial meeting with the Enquirer. This will be fairly informal – with the intention of getting to know the Enquirer, working out what stage they are at and what conversations they’ve already had. They will pray for the discernment process and all involved. Depending on need, various courses of action could happen at this point. These meetings will be recorded in some way, so that there’s a transparent process. The Enquirer may be referred to meet with or shadow other local clergy. They may be encouraged to spend a couple of Sundays worshipping in a context different from that to which they are accustomed (in terms of ecclesiology, urban/rural setting etc) and be asked to reflect in writing on their experience and how/if it changes their understanding of what it is to be Anglican/in ministry/a Christian.
After a couple of meetings with the Vocations Advocate, a sense of where the Enquirer is ‘at’ will begin to form – both in terms of intuition and, more importantly, reflections/evidence that are starting to make up a file. This is stage at which the Vocations Advocate will ask the Chair of the Examining Chaplains to meet with the Enquirer. What this means, in essence, is that by the time the Enquirer meets with the Chair and the Examining Chaplains, they are ready both in terms of preparation and in terms of being used to articulating their sense of call.
*Note: Examining Chaplains are lay people and Clergy appointed by the Archbishop to discern vocations and make recommendations to the Archbishop.
The Chair of the Archbishop’s Examining Chaplains’ Committee (Examining Chaplains) will meet with the Enquirer to determine if their “call” should proceed further. If the Chair believes that matters should be considered further they will arrange for a panel of Examining Chaplains to conduct an interview. Following the interview, they make a report with recommendations to the Examining Chaplains. A decision will then be conveyed to the both the person and their parish priest or chaplain. A person who joins the Enquirer’s Programme is referred to as an Enquirer.
Between interviews with Examining Chaplains, the Enquirer will continue to meet with the Vocations Advocate - to discuss the process, to talk through any issues which have been raised and to continue praying together.
During the time of discernment the Enquirer attends a series of meetings.
The meetings include the Eucharist or Holy Communion, a meal, a Bible Studies and input on various aspects of preparedness for ordained ministry. Several of the Examining Chaplains and the Vocations Advocate attend each session.
Following the Enquirers’ Program and the required medical, psychological and financial examinations, the Enquirer attends an Advisory Conference where they are interviewed by the Archbishop and the Examining Chaplains.
Subsequent to the Conference, the Candidate will be advised by the Archbishop if a possible vocation to the ordained ministry is discerned.