When the Archbishop addressed us at Synod this year, he reminded us that the “harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few” (Matt. 9. 37). In order to live into Bp. Morales’ vision for our diocese in this year of commitment and every year there must be a renewed focus on the development of ministry, both lay and ordained. All of the baptized are called to do ministry. It is therefore incumbent upon all of us to discern God’s will for us. There are many resources within your congregation available to you to assist you in this journey. Speak with your pastor or spiritual director, seek the counsel of someone you trust, devote some time to personal study and reflection-perhaps in the context of a retreat. The fact is that the Holy Spirit is tapping you on the shoulder, leading you down a path.
Some of us are called to ordained ministry. You may have felt a tug in that direction for some time. Perhaps friends, family or clergy have suggested you pursue it. If this is the case, I invite you to take the next step and explore the call. You will be entering a two-part process of discernment at the congregational and diocesan level. You begin at your home church where those who know you best will provide you with the love and attention required to assist you on your journey. Your priest will meet with you and if the two of you deem it appropriate, a discernment committee will be convened to guide to as you pray, reflect and learn to identify the ministry you are best suited to. Upon completion of thisstage, you will either be referred to the Commission on Ministry (COM) to continue in the process towards ordination or you will be redirected to lay ministry within your congregation. There is no “pass” or “fail” in this. Anyone who grows in understanding of God’s purpose for them has been successful.
The COM will assist you as you navigate the ordination process. It is our role to advise the bishop as we shepherd you through the path to ordination which will include evaluation, education and further exploration of the call. Arrival at this stage is not a guarantee of ordination. Once again, the goal of the process is growth in ministry, not arrival at a specific professional goal. One should embrace this time as an opportunity for spiritual growth and formation. To that end, you will have a direct contact on the COM along with a Chaplain for vocations who you can be in contact with in addition to your priest and spiritual director.
Our ordination process is set forth in our canons and the canons of the ACNA. I expect we will have our Guidelines for Holy Orders available on the diocesan website soon. I also expect to schedule an informational session periodically for those interested. Please feel free to contact me with your questions. firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 262-490-9836.
Yours in Christ,
The Rev. Cn. Eric T. Raskopf, Chair Commission on Ministry