Wednesday 14 May 9:00 a.m.

This morning Joe Forsyth from St. Mark’s Qualicum Beach came to fill us in on the process in the Anglican Diocese of BC by which the church and a person discern together a persons call to ministry.

I may not have got it all quite right but, as I heard it, this is the process of “Ministry Discernment.”

We need to have hearts filled with the Holy Spirit in order to discern vocation. We can’t do t just in our head.

It is important in vocation that we have the fire of the Holy Spirit kindled in us. We need to have the fire of Jesus and love the people we work with.

How do we discern calling to priesthood or diaconate?

The Diocesan part involves two groups of people appointed by the bishop:

1. Examining Chaplains – they receive and review applications and then walk alongside the person discerning a call throughout the process

2 Assssors – they attend the ministry discernment weekend, interview the candidates, help them discern their call to ministry and then send a written recommendation to the Bishop.

The process for the individual discerning a call has several steps:

1. A person gets a feeling God is calling them to do something deeper in their spiritual life and ministry

2. This person speaks to another ordained person about this sense of call. The ordained person listens to them with love and encourages the person sensing a call to listen deeply.

3. The ordained person will then recommend the person feeling a call speaks to the bishop

4. The bishop will appoint a Chaplain for the person and call for the establishment of a Parish Discernment Committee in the person’s parish. This Committee made up of 6-8 people will include the Rector, other ordained members of the parish, parishioners, and the bishop’s appointed chaplain.

5. The Committee will listen to the person’s story and help them see what it means to be a priest and/or a deacon. They will be honest with each other.

Together they will study the ordinals. They will examine the “Competencies for Ordination to the Priesthood in the Anglican Church of Canada” or the soon to be published “Competencies for Ordination to the Diaconate in the Anglican Church of Canada.”

6. The Parish Discernment process will take 6-8 months.

7. If the individual decides to continue in the process towards discernment in ministry they will fill out the application form on-line to apply to attend a Ministry Discernment Weekend (Friday evening and all day Saturday) This application includes essays on: how the person views the difference between lay and ordained ministry, the story of their spiritual biography, their sense of call to ordained ministry, and the report of the Discernment Committee.

8. The Chaplain meets with the individual and helps them with the application essays to flesh them out before the weekend.

9. On the weekend: Friday evening the candidate meets all three of their assessors. Saturday each candidate has a one-on-one meeting with their three assessors. At the end of Saturday, the assessors write a one page report.

10. The Chaplain and one assessor meet with the Candidate within one week to read through the report with them and have the candidate sign-off on the report which is then sent to the bishop.

11. The Chaplain meets with the candidate.

12. The candidate meets with the bishop who confirms that they are to be sent forward to attend the Advisory Council for Postulants to Ordination or to continue in the process of Diaconal Formation

13. If the person is not recommended to go ahead at this time, the Parish Discernment Committee will continue to meet with the person supporting them in their discernment process with the hope that they will re-apply

14. If the process determines that the person is not going to be recommended to re-apply, the  Chaplain will continue to to walk with the person and the parish to see that the person is encouraged to see their lay ministry as deeply valuable and affirmed.