All baptized Christians share in the ministry of Christ. From time to time God calls faithful people in the church to be ordained and to use their gifts in this way.
People who wish to be involved in a servant ministry to take the Gospel into the world. Usually they do not receive a stipend (salary).
People who have been identified from local congregations and affirmed by the church to assist in the sacramental life of the congregation.
People who are seeking full-time stipendiary work in the life of the Church.
The Early Stages
The first step is to discuss your calling with your parish priest and to explore your understanding of ministry, both lay and ordained. This is a time of prayer and discernment. People seeking ordination in the Anglican Church need to be baptized, communicant and confirmed in the Anglican Church for at least three years. Active involvement in an Anglican parish for at least those years is essential. You will then need to make an appointment with the Vocations Coordinator. He/she will talk more with you about your sense of call, about ordination, the various forms that ordained ministry can take and the requirements for each. After this meeting, if you are to proceed, you will ask your parish for a Letter of Recommendation to the Discernment process. Following this, you will be invited to a Discernment Weekend and equipped with a variety of discernment tools for your ongoing reflection. You will then be asked to do some writing about yourself, your spiritual history, and your sense of call. As well, you will be asked to undergo a Police Records Check and various assessments as required.
This conference takes place in late summer or early fall. The conference will assist you in looking at what you perceive to be your call (to ordained ministry or lay). The weekend combines information and practice re discernment, tools, discussion, worship and retreat time – a weekend and space for God without distractions. Personal discernment is encouraged throughout the entire process as well as group discussions.
Stipendiary Ordained Ministry: ACPO is an annual event in the Ecclesiastical Province of Canada. This is a weekend conference during which time you will have interviews with clergy, lay people and a person who is skilled in psychological evaluation. During this event, you will be testing your call with the wider church community of the Ecclesiastical Province of Canada (Dioceses from Montreal east). Before you leave the conference, their recommendation to your Bishop on your status as a Postulant will be shared with you. A Postulant is someone formally in a particular educational process moving toward ordination. At the end on the event, you will be told the recommendation of the assessors. Your Bishop will receive and consider the recommendations of ACPO and make declaration on your status as a Postulant.
Those seeking full time stipendiary Priesthood would normally enter an accredited theological school to obtain a Master of Divinity. The official school for our Diocese is the Atlantic School of Theology in Halifax. While at the theological school, the individual will be part of the three-year Anglican Formation Program.
Pre Ordination Assessment
At the end of your formal education, there will be a Diocesan assessment of your readiness for ordained ministry. Upon recommendation for ordination and availability of an appointment, you may be ordained deacon.
During your first two years of ordained ministry, you will be in a parish and involved in the Mentoring of the Newly Ordained Program. During this year, you meet regularly with a priest or deacon mentor, to reflect on your new experience in parish work and your transition to the role of an ordained person. You will also be involved in regular Educational Gatherings for the Newly Ordained.
Ordination to the Office of a Priest
For those seeking ordination as a Priest, the Bishop receives the final recommendations from all those involved to this point. The Bishop then makes a decision about the suitability and timing of ordination to the Office of a Priest.
The House of Bishops guidelines state “Admission as a Postulant does not imply any guarantee or promise of ordination.”
Please see also:
For guidelines around the Community of Associate Parish Priests (CAPP), please see Policy 1.1.21.
Revised October 2019