Discernment, selection and training

What are we looking for?

The Church of England is looking for certain Qualities (PDF) in those who are exploring Ordination. After a couple of initial get-to-know-you conversations with Haydon Spenceley (the Diocesan Director of Ordinands – DDO), you will then have an opportunity to explore these qualities, perhaps with Haydon or an Assistant Director of Ordinands. This might involve visiting other churches, experiencing different kinds of service, some reading or writing, or talking to people such as our team of Diocesan Vocations Advisers who can help you in particular ways. Everyone is different, and so everyone’s journey unpacking these qualities is different. The aim is to build up a picture of who you are, and together listen for how the Lord is speaking to you.

What about Selection?

Once you have fully explored the Qualities, the process begins to get more formal. There are three stages at this point.

1. Stage One assessment

This is a regional discernment day with candidates from other dioceses involving a series of short interviews. The feedback report from this day enables us to know where it might be helpful to do a little more preparation, or if in fact it might be worth exploring a direction different to ordination. 

2. Bishop John 

We invite you to meet Bishop John who will have read your Stage One report and an account of the progress since that day, with a view to be sponsored to attend national selection.

3. Stage Two assessment

This is a two-day residential discernment panel which involves further interviews and some group work with candidates from other dioceses. The report from this panel indicates whether you are ready to proceed to training for ordination. If the conclusion is that you are not ready, Haydon will want to work carefully with you, your vicar and anyone else who might be helpful to consider other ways in which your gifts can continue to be used. It is not easy to get this far and not start to train for ordination, but it does happen.

What about Training?

Training can take various forms and usually lasts two or three years. You can train:

  • residentially in a college – there are a variety all over the country to choose from

  • on a course, which you can undertake alongside your present occupation, and without having to move home

  • by studying part-time whilst working part-time in a church. We consider carefully what is best.

All tuition fees are paid for by the Church, and the Church also makes grants to support you and your family financially through training if you have had to give up work.

Follow the suggestions under Starting to Explore and see where the Lord takes you!




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