The Year of Discernment Program

The Church in its corporate life and among its individual members seeks to respond to the call of God to live in faithfulness to the Gospel and to proclaim its message. Some within the church are further called to a particular and representative ministry as Deacons, Priests and Bishops. The discernment of that call, its fostering and enhancement, belongs to the church, which through the Archbishop, and those responsible with him for examining the quality and suitability of an individual’ vocation, may choose as candidates for ordained ministry training appropriate persons who are moved by the Holy Spirit to serve God and build up God’ people.

The Archbishop's Criteria for Ordination Candidates

A. Personal

  • Most basic of all is Christian faith and character. A candidate must be able to give a clear explanation of his or her discovery and realisation of Christ
  • There must be evidence that Christian character receives a high priority, which affects attitudes to prayer, money, other persons, power and sexuality
  • A person must exhibit strengths of character and courage to resist personal and community pressures
  • A person must possess physical and psychological fitness.

B. Vocational

  • A person must exhibit a ‘passion’ for ‘God in Christ’ and his Church
  • Show evidence of a desire to minister Christ and to talk about ‘God in Christ’ to others
  • There must be evidence of capacity and desire to lead communities of faith and love. The person will need to possess people and community life skills and sensitivities
  • Realise simply to have a desire to be a minister or ‘attraction to spiritual life’ are not necessarily a call to ordination. God’s call must be tested by the Church.

C. Professional

  • A person will need to be willing to be appointed anywhere in the Diocese and display a willingness to join a pool of leaders who will match a Diocesan wide ministry strategy
  • A person will need to have intellectual capacities to study and reflect on scripture and theology coupled with high regard for these sources
  • It will be important to have an ability to attract contemporary Australians into relevant church life and display both flexibility and awareness of our context
  • Any potential ordinand will need to be open to a sensible understanding of the Anglican Ordinal and be willing to work at understanding the essence of Anglicanism: Bible, Creeds, Polity, Liturgies, History, and its flexible spirit as expressed in preface etc. to the Book of Common Prayer
  • Candidates should come from strong parish involvement.

The Year of Discernment aims to assist people to explore, within the context of an Anglican ethos, two essential dynamics in Ministry. The first is the dynamic relationship between Who Am I Called To Be? and What Am I Called To Do?

The second looks at the dynamic in the relationship between Elements in the Life of Ministers and Elements in Ministry.

This is a program to which people may be invited after making formal enquiry about ordination as Deacon or Priest. The program will be made available to Enquirers irrespective of their stage of training. Exemptions from the program may be granted by the Director of Theological Education in some cases, however, the Year of Discernment will generally be regarded as both helpful and necessary to all Enquirers.

Various clergy and lay leaders will be invited as guest presenters from time to time. We deliberately invite a to represent the diversity of views and contexts within the Anglican Community. These will include Priests or Deacons from Parish or Chaplaincy Ministries, members of the Faculty from the Theological Colleges, and others thought to be appropriate for a particular part of the program.

People invited to participate in the program would be expected to attend six sessions preceded by one intake session, prior to being interviewed by the Examining Chaplains and going further in the process of discernment.

Withdrawal at any point will be possible and ongoing conversation will be offered to any who withdraw from the program.

The Program

The Program consists of a rolling cycle of topics with an intake at the beginning of each year and one mid-year. Participants attend only one intake, but all other sessions.

Those involved in the program will meet from 7.30pm until 9.45pm. Intake Session

Discussion on that occasion will include:-

  • Discernment and spiritual growth
  • An overview of the Anglican Church of Australia and the Diocese of Melbourne

Other Sessions:

  • Being an Anglican
  • Ethics for clergy ministry
  • Why I have not been ordained
  • The ministry of chaplains
  • Counting the cost: In general terms and for a personal and family life.

During The Year of Discernment each Enquirer will be asked to be in conversation with an experienced person in Ministry who could be described variously as a soul friend, mentor, or spiritual director. The people responsible for running the program will ensure that such a relationship is in place and regular conversations about ministry and the spiritual life are taking place.

Each Enquirer taking part in The Year of Discernment will also be encouraged in the use and discipline of writing a journal.

 

 Further enquiries

 

Director of Network 1:28
The Anglican Centre
209 Flinders Lane
Melbourne Vic 3000
Tel: (03) 9653 4220

DofTE@melbourneanglican.org.au