Starts with an Inkling…what next?
- Pray. Talk to God and listen to God.
- Talk with your family/friends you trust. What do they reflect back to you about this inkling you have?
- Talk to a leader (rector/vicar/PiC/deacon/ lay leader) at your parish about the inkling.
- Not a part of a parish yet? Find One.*
- Learn about the Diocesan Discernment Process.
All Episcopal discernment happens first in the congregational context. You must be part of/known at/involved in a worshiping congregation/chaplaincy/community to undertake formal discernment in the Diocese of AZ. It is strongly recommended that you’re involved at that level for a full year before beginning parish discernment.
Requirements to Consider
- Are you baptized? Evidence of baptism must be provided during your process.
- Are you confirmed? Evidence of confirmation must be provided during your process. You must be confirmed at least a year before you can be made a postulant in the discernment process.
- All parish leaders must complete Safeguarding God’s People training every 5 years. Is yours current?
Note: If you have not been baptized and confirmed, speak to your parish leader about engaging in those two steps. If you have been baptized or confirmed or both, but do not have the records for this, please contact the church which performed these sacraments who should have you on record. If they do not have those records for some reason, your parish leader should be able to assist you in scheduling a provisional baptism and/or a confirmation service upon the next Bishop’s visitation/diocesan confirmation service.
Inquiry Stage-Best Practices
1. Be involved in your parish: committees, volunteerism, worship, worship ministries.
2. Undertake spiritual practices: journaling, the Daily Office, contemplative prayer, etc. that can help you grow and develop language around your potential sense of call.
3. Engage a Spiritual Director for spiritual conversations.**
4. Develop your self-awareness: engage a therapist/counselor, examine your motivations, examine your relationship to power/leadership/service. Discover your Spiritual Gifts.
5. Visit other churches. Does your call to parish leadership extend outside your local context?
6. Engage in self-care practices that prioritize rest and restoration.
7. Examine your need for privacy. Discernment is a highly personal exploration that must be confirmed by yourself, your community, and the diocesan community before ordination is a possibility. Think intentionally about who you want to be “in the know” or not before you decide to begin.
** = Spiritual Directors are usually paid, professionals. If this causes a financial hardship, speak with your
parish leader to discuss potential assistance. You can find Spiritual Directors through your parish
connections or by contacting the Commission on Ministry at COM@azdiocese.org for suggestions.
* = ideally, you would attend the DMD in the year in which your inquirer will engage the process. DMDs are held in the first quarter of any year, followed by a Parish Discernment Team training in the spring, and documents, etc. due in the fall/winter. Diocesan COM meetings for aspirants are held in the spring of the next year. While the Diocesan process doesn’t change substantially from year to year, we encourage you to not assume something that you heard at a DMD in prior years is still the correct way. Stay up to date by attending the most recent DMD to assure a smooth process for your Inquirer.