Here to help
Diocesan Director of Ordinands
How do I become a vicar?
It can often take many years for us to discern what God is calling us to. You might have felt a nudging to something more in the church, others might have commented to you that you’d be a good vicar or it might have been a sudden realisation that God wants you to pursue ordained ministry.
Discernment is a journey of discovery to help you grow your God-given gifts. At some point in the journey, a decision is taken as to whether your gifts are the right ones for ordained ministry.
You will begin by meeting regularly with your vicar or chaplain to talk about your sense of calling. If your call seems to point clearly towards formal ministry, you will start working with diocesan staff.
Time spent discerning your vocation is a time of personal growth. You will be increasing in self-awareness, developing a disciplined prayer life, and building your knowledge. This part of the process is one of preparation and formation, and can therefore take a long time. It is rarely less than a year.
You will be expected to discuss complex areas like your close personal relationships, major life events, personality, faith, and prayer life. When those working with you feel you are ready, you will attend a local selection panel to be assessed by a panel of Bishops’ Advisors. In the panel agree that your discernment is ordained ministry then be sponsored by the Bishop of Doncaster and enter the national selection process.
If you are successful at your national panel, you will begin training at theological college. For some this is a full-time course, either residentially or as a contextual student studying part-time whilst working in a placement church. For others, theological training is part-time on a regional ministry course. Training takes two or three years, depending on your previous studies. After training, you will return to the Diocese to take up a curacy.
We are here to help
We will help guide you through the process and you will:
- Meet with a Vocations Advisor
they will work with you on a one-to-one basis as you explore further the qualities for ordained ministry
- Experience the breadth of the Church
the discernment process is different for each candidate, but for most people, it will involve undertaking one or two placements in churches different to your own.
- Be given resources to help with your discernment
you will be expected to do some study at home and you will be given all the materials you need.
- Be supported at every stage
the DDO and Vocations Team are here to help you throughout the process.
Discernment was a very slow process for me, I was about six months pregnant at my initial meeting and I needed the time to work through the ways in which training and ministry might affect my family. I felt very supported throughout the process and knew that I could trust the team with the well being of me and my family.
This feeling of care has continued into my training. Being able to train contextually at a local college was certainly the best decision for me at the time. As I have taken the step forward into training I have been overwhelmed by God’s faithfulness in putting the right people around me to see me through this season of my life. I have really enjoyed the practical and theological parts of training, however the thing that I have found most exciting and challenging throughout this journey is learning more about who I am in God.”Rachel Crossley, Ordinand in Training, St Hild College
Reading List for Discernment
We have compiled a comprehensive reading list that may help you with discernment.
Different pathways into ordination
Ordination as Distinctive Deacon
A deacon’s ministry is marked by mission through service. Deacons are outward moving and community minded.
Deacons prefer to be out and about, building relationships, identifying and meting needs, and creating stepping-stones between God and the world. Deacons are radical in their outlook and ready to try new ways of serving God in the community.
Deacons have a particular concern for poverty and justice, seeking to be the voice of the voiceless, advocating for those on the margins, and loving those in need.
As ambassadors, deacons take the gospel into the community, bringing its needs back to the church for intercession and practical action.
Deacons read the Gospel, assist the priest, encourage intercession, and send out the congregation, going with them as we all play our part in God’s mission.
Ordination as Priest
Priests or vicars are disciples of Jesus Christ, who love God and neighbour, and are filled with an infectious and life transforming faith.
Priests lead a church through prayer, teaching, and worship, enabling God’s people to be better disciples of Christ. They preside at Holy Communion, baptisms, weddings, and funerals, walking alongside people in their joy and in their grief.
Priests are generous to those who are different, striving to be mature, self-aware, and willing to learn. Priests or vicars are committed to the mission of the Church of England, working with others to build up the Church through recognising where God is at work in the world and in the lives of others.