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