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Steps Toward Becoming a Postulant for Ordination to the Priesthood

for persons previously ordained in churches not in the historic succession (summary)

  1. Applicant disengages from active ministry as a cleric
    Applicant communicates with denominational authorities to clarify that he/she no longer wishes to function as a member of the clergy and is exploring priestly ministry in the Episcopal Church.
  2. Applicant explores the Episcopal Church
    The applicant takes a period of time to study and participate in the Episcopal Church, making sure that this is the branch of the Church to which he/she wishes to make a commitment.[Steps one and two may, of course, vary in sequence.]
  3. Applicant is formally confirmed or received into the Episcopal Church by a Bishop of this Diocese
    [See Book of Common Prayer requirements and canonical requirements]
  4. Applicant becomes involved member of a parish in the Diocese of New York
    The applicant is an active member (an adult confirmed communicant) of a parish for a minimum of one year (or longer if required by the rector).  During this year the applicant gets to know the parish and becomes known by parishioners and the clergy.  The applicant may not function as a cleric.
  5. Applicant discusses discernment with the rector (or priest in charge by whatever title)
    The applicant and rector discuss the possibility of meeting with a parish discernment committee.
  6. Parish Discernment Committee is formed
    After at least one year of active parish participation, and if the rector recommends continuing the discernment, the applicant meets for some months with a group of parish laity serving as a discernment committee.  Together they explore whether or not the applicant has shown the gifts and talents needed in the priesthood in this Church.
  7. Rector writes sponsoring letter to the Bishop
    The rector writes a sponsoring letter to the Bishop.  For an outline of the categories this letter should contain see the website of Episcopal Diocese of New York.
  8. Rector & Vestry submit canonical form
    If the rector and vestry decide to sponsor the applicant, they sign a recommendation attesting to this sponsorship.  (This form is sent to rector in response to the rector’s letter to the Bishop.)
  9. Applicant completes application and essays & provides documentation, as requested on application
  10. Applicant completes: (1) physical evaluation; (2) psychological evaluation; and (3) background check
    Please refer to the sheet “About the Physical and Psychological Evaluations”.
  11. Applicant meets with Canon for Ministry
    Call to schedule appointment.
  12. Bishop reviews the applicant’s file
    The Bishop reviews the file and decides if the applicant should proceed to the preliminary interview stage of Diocesan discernment.
  13. Applicant completes 3 preliminary interviews
    If the Bishop requests that the applicant proceed, he/she is invited to schedule individual preliminary interviews with three members of the Commission on Ministry and/or the Standing Committee.  Each interviewer recommends to the Bishop that the applicant either continue or not continue in discernment with the Diocese.
  14. Bishop reviews the applicant’s file
    Following this review, the Bishop decides if the applicant should proceed with Diocesan discernment.
  15. Applicant meets with a Special Committee
    If the Bishop requests that the applicant proceed, he/she meets with the Special Committee appointed by the Canon for Ministry (composed of members of the Commission on Ministry and/or the Standing Committee) several times, at the discretion of the Committee chair.  This committee submits a report to the Bishop making recommendations regarding the next steps, including formation.
  16. Bishop meets with the applicant and consults with the Standing Committee.
    The Bishop considers the recommendation of the Special Committee, makes a decision about next steps and consults with the Standing Committee.
  17. If the Bishop approves, applicant begins formation at the Bishop’s direction, usually at a seminary approved by the Bishop
    Applicant begins Anglican studies (normally at least one year) at an Episcopal seminary.  Ordination follows completion of study, Clinical Pastoral Education (if necessary), General Ordination Examinations (GOEs), Liturgical Resources Examination, such other formation as the Bishop may require and fulfilling all canonical requirements.


The Episcopal Diocese of New York
January 2013

Ministry Office Contacts

The Rev. Canon Charles W. Simmons
Canon for Ministry

Office: 212-316-7416
Fax: 212-932-7368

Mr. Alito Orsini
Liaison to Canon for Ministry, Liaison to Canon for Transition Ministry

Office: 212-316-7414
Fax: 212-932-7368