Discernment Resources

Discernment is a set of practices to determine God’s will in our lives. Discernment has both individual and communal aspects; That is to say, it is about the individual, the community of the church, and the movement of the spirit. If you feel God is calling you to a new form of ministry, speak to your rector or vicar about forming a local discernment committee. Check out the links below for discernment resources:

Discernment Handbooks

The Commission on Ministry (COM) of the Diocese of California has prepared these handbooks for those seeking the ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church. If you are considering a call to ministry, begin with the first document, Discerning Your Call to Ministry.


Preliminary Discernment

Beginning Discernment for Ordination to Holy Orders

  • The rector/vicar of the congregation provides the name of an eligible aspirant to the vocations office.
    • The aspirant must be a confirmed adult communicant in good standing, younger than 72 years of age, and resident in the sponsoring congregation for a minimum of three years.
  • The aspirant attends Day of Discernment, conducted multiple times per year by the Working Group Head for Formation and a representative of the Commission on Ministry. Contact us to inquire about the next Day of Discernment.
  • The aspirant begins regular spiritual direction, which continues throughout the discernment process.
  • The aspirant undertakes Time of Discernment, a 12-week self-directed program of discernment. Submit this form to begin Time of Discernment.
  • The rector establishes a local discernment committee (LDC). The LDC is encouraged to participate in diocesan formation that explores the role and charism of the LDC.
  • After the aspirant has done sufficient discernment with the LDC, the aspirant completes the N forms, and submits them to the vocations office by June 1st.
  • After the N forms have been submitted, the aspirant works with the LDC to complete the P forms (the application for postulancy). The N and P forms introduce the aspirant to the Commission on Ministry and begin a formal diocesan discernment process.
  • The P forms include an education plan, traditionally a Masters of Divinity for aspirants to the priesthood. For aspirants with an existing graduate degree in theology or a related discipline, ordination in another tradition, or substantive work as a chaplain or other lay religious professional, a Masters of Divinity may not be the most appropriate vehicle for formation and discernment. These aspirants will be asked to explore their background in conversation with a representative of the Commission on Ministry, the Vocations Officer and an advisor after they are approved for postulancy.
  • The annual deadline for submitting P Forms is July 31.

Ordination Forms

Other Resources

For more information, contact Dr. Travis Stevens vocations@diocal.org