Discerning a Call to Holy Orders

Every Christian is called to serve. This call, often called our vocation, may and often does change over time as God calls us into new spaces and ways of being. Some may sense God inviting us to discern if we are being called into ordained ministry as a priest or deacon.

If you are prepared to move forward, formally, in discerning a call to ordained ministry (diaconate or priesthood), we welcome your application to our Holy Orders Discernment Cohort. This group gathers annually; and consists of individuals who are putting themselves forward to discern the diaconate or presbyterate, and two discernment co-faciliators. There must be at least four applicants in order for the cohort to begin.

Make them, O Lord, modest and humble, strong and constant, to observe the discipline of Christ. Let their life and teaching so reflect your commandments, that through them many may come to know you and love you.

From the Prayer of Consecration, Ordination of a Deacon, Book of Common Prayer (p. 545)

ECCT works to ensure that each group contains a diversity of racial and ethnic groups, socioeconomic backgrounds, gender identities and sexual orientations, levels of education, and more. We believe this diversity offers an additional layer of vocational discernment.

Applications for the next cohort are currently being accepted and should be submitted by April 1, 2024Incomplete applications will not be considered. A cohort begins regularly meeting late spring/early summer and meets through the summer and early fall. The details of date, time, and location of meetings is determined collaboratively by the cohort and co-facilitators. Members of the cohort may be recommended to attend the Holy Orders Discernment Retreat with the Commission on Ministry in the fall, currently scheduled for Friday, September 27 – Saturday, September 28, 2024.

In order to apply to join a cohort, you must be:

  • An adult communicant in good standing in the Episcopal Church in Connecticut (Canon I.17.3)
  • Engaged in an ongoing conversation regarding discernment with your priest (or church warden in the absence of a priest)

All those interested in discernment for holy orders should first be in conversation with their local priest (or church warden in the absence of a priest). Anyone interested in exploring ordination must have been a member of a worshiping community in ECCT for at least a year. Following conversations with the local clergy person, someone in discernment should be in touch with the Dean of Formation before submitting an application. General information about the ordination process can be found by reviewing the relevant Canons (Title III).

To complete the online application you will need:

  • Proof of Baptism (certificate, letter from officiating clergy, or letter from witness)
  • Proof of Confirmation or Reception (certificate, letter from officiating clergy, or letter from witness)
  • A 1,000 word Spiritual Autobiography
  • A reflection of 500 words or less from the priest or church warden who is sponsoring you for Holy Orders Discernment.
    • They are encouraged to reflect on the charisms for ministry that they see present in your life, your involvement and engagement in the life of the local faith community, and areas for vocational development and growth.
  • A reflection of 500 words or less from another lay person in the faith community sponsoring you for Holy Orders Discernment.
    • They are encouraged to reflect on the charisms for ministry that they see present in your life, your involvement and engagement in the life of the local faith community, and areas for vocational development and growth. 
  • A resume
  • A photo (head shot) of yourself