If you are feeling the call to ministry, it will be helpful to know a little about the journey to ordination. There are a number of stages to undergo within the discernment process.  The first three stages – Seeker, Enquirer, Candidate – usually take between twelve months to two years. During this time, people are encouraged to:

·         pray deeply and consistently and ask others to pray.

·         talk to family and trusted friends.

·         talk to their Parish Priest and try leading ministry activities.

·         read about vocation (a Recommended Reading list is available).

·         visit other Anglican parishes.

·         consider undertaking theological study.

The full process can be found in the document God Calling which sets out what the expectations of the church are and the requirements which need to be met before being considered ready for the ordained ministry.  It is recommended that those who are enquiring about ordination thoroughly read this document first.

For a short visual summary of the process, take a look at this one page summary, Called to Ministry ACSQ.

A Quick Overview

The Seeker – feels the call to ‘something’ in ministry

When people first enquire about ministry, we call them a ‘seeker’ because they are seeking out God’s will for their life. We have faith that God will be with them in this activity, as Jesus promised that if you seek, you will find. (Matt 7:7-8) However, it is not always guaranteed that we will find what we are expecting! This is the time to think about, ‘Am I called to the ordained ministry or is God calling me to remain a lay person?’  Seekers’ Day in September is one of the days to come along and enquire further. There are also online and in-person opportunities to gather with others asking the same questions.

The Enquirer – feels the call to ordained ministry

If an individual believes, after prayerful reflection, that they are called to ordained ministry in the Anglican Church in particular, and this call is affirmed by others, they may be invited to enter the Vocation Reflection process, held in February and March each year. Through four intensive Saturdays, Enquirers test their vocation through theological reflection, psychological testing, personal journaling and interviews, so that their suitability for a possible future in ordained ministry can be ascertained by themselves and the Church.

Before considering entering this stage, be realistic about what the future may look like and what is achievable. Can you afford to undertake the academic study required? Are you an active part of an Anglican church community? What are your family and personal commitments? All these will be discussed with the DDOV prior to invitation into the Vocational Reflection process.


The Candidate – feels they are ready to proceed to ordination training

If the requirements at the end of the Vocational Reflection process have been met, then the Archbishop may invite a person to a Vocation Discernment Conference (VDC). This is an advisory body to the Archbishop consisting of a number of Examining Chaplains. Their job is to advise the Archbishop as to a candidate's suitability and readiness to enter training for ordained ministry, not to make the decision.

The Candidate participates in several group and individual activities at the Conference, as well as being interviewed individually by the Examining Chaplains about the various criteria for selection. These criteria are found in God Calling.


The Ordinand – feels an ongoing call to ordination which is affirmed by the Church

Formation for ordination is usually a three year program at St Francis Theological College in Milton. It involves academic study, spiritual and ministry formation, and in-service learning in a parish. On completion of the formation requirements in these areas, the Ordinand is deemed ready to be ordained to the diaconate and the Archbishop is advised of this readiness. Ordinations normally take place in December.

See the summary Training for Ministry ACSQ for more details.


Discernment Resources