Steps toward Becoming a Postulant for Ordination to the Vocational Diaconate
N.B. National canons and diocesan guidelines give the Bishop oversight of the ordination process. What follows is a description of our customary practice. Nominees should bear in mind that the various steps may be modified on occasion at the Bishop’s discretion.
- Nominee becomes involved member of a parish in the Episcopal Diocese of New York
The nominee is an active member (confirmed adult communicant) of a parish for a minimum of one year (longer if required by the rector). During this time the nominee comes to know the parish and becomes known by parishioners and the clergy.
- Nominee discusses discernment with the rector
The nominee and rector meet to discuss the person’s sense of a call to this ministry and the possibility of beginning parish discernment.
- Parish Discernment Committee is formed
If the rector and nominee decide to initiate parish discernment, the nominee meets for some months with a group of laity appointed by the rector to serve as a discernment committee. Together they explore whether or not the nominee has shown the gifts and talents needed for the diaconate in this Diocese.
- Rector writes sponsoring letter to the Bishop
The rector writes to the Bishop sponsoring the nominee for postulancy. For an outline of the categories this letter should contain see the website or contact the Office of Ministry. Included with the letter is a description of the parish discernment by which the nominee has been identified for recommendation to the Bishop for ordination to the diaconate.
- Rector & Vestry submit canonical form indicating support
If the rector and vestry decide to sponsor the nominee, they sign a Parish Recommendation attesting to this sponsorship and pledging support. This form will be sent to the rector after the Bishop has received the sponsoring letter.
- Nominee completes application and essays
Materials are sent directly to the nominee after the rector’s sponsoring letter has been received by the Bishop.
- Nominee completes: (1) physical evaluation; (2) psychological evaluation; and (3) background check
Please refer to the sheet “About the Physical and Psychological Evaluations.”
- Bishop reviews the nominee’s file
The Bishop reviews the file and decides whether the nominee should proceed to the preliminary interview stage of Diocesan discernment.
- Nominee completes three preliminary interviews
If the Bishop decides to continue the discernment with the Diocese, the nominee is invited to schedule separate preliminary interviews with three members of the Commission on Ministry and/or the Standing Committee.
Following each interview, the interviewer recommends to the Bishop that the nominee continue or not continue with Diocesan discernment.
- Bishop reviews the nominee’s file
Following this review, the Bishop decides if the nominee should proceed by being invited to a discernment conference.
- Nominee attends a Discernment Conference
At the Bishop’s request, the nominee is invited to attend a discernment conference. Unusually one conference is held annually in the spring. At this conference the interviewers vote either to recommend or not to recommend the nominee to the Bishop for postulancy.
- Bishop reviews the nominee’s file and recommendations and meets with the nominee to discuss the possibility of postulancy
The Bishop meets with the nominee and makes a decision about appointing the nominee to postulancy.
- Bishop consults with Standing Committee before admitting a new postulant.
- A new postulant begins the Diaconal Formation Program, including enrolling in an Education for Ministry (EfM) group
Postulants for the diaconate complete a course of formation and study designed to provide academic preparation, theological reflection, and practical training in the ministry of the deacon.
The Episcopal Diocese of New York