We as a diocese would love to help you explore and discern your sense of calling to ministry.
Every one of us, as Christians, has a common calling to be Christ’s ambassadors to the world. However, you may also have a strong sense of a call (or vocation) into ordained ministry within the Church of Ireland.
If this is you, please chat to your minister and other trusted Christians as well as the Diocesan Director of Ordinands (DDO). He will recommend that you join the Diocese’s Exploring Ordination Group (EOG).
The group meets four times a year and gives you the opportunity to connect with other like–minded individuals, to learn more about the process, discover your gifts, test your call, ask questions and receive prayer and support.
To make the most of these gatherings we have just launched a new programme which will run over a two year cycle. You may join the group at any point in the two years.
As well as visiting different centres of ministry around the diocese and having input from local church leaders about ministry in their particular context, you will also consider topics such as calling, clergy life, leadership, transition and change management, and theological reflection. In addition you will spend time discussing chapters from a book that will help you explore the various criteria involved in the selection process.
Individuals are usually expected to belong to the EOG for at least one year before progressing further along the route to selection. It should be noted that being part of this group does not imply that a person will eventually become ordained.
The next step
After at least one year of regular participation in fellowship events, members may apply to the bishop for the next formal stage in their journey, The Foundation Course.
The Foundation Course
The course is run by the Church of Ireland Theological Institute. It is designed to help those testing God’s call upon their life and who are enthusiastic to develop their own capacity for furthering God’ mission through his church in today’s world.
For everyone it provides an extended opportunity to think through the implications of what a particular vocation may look like. Is it a call to ordination or to a particular expression of lay ministry?
For some, therefore, the Foundation Course will be a means towards the end of selection and training for ordination; for others it will be the opportunity to acquire new learning skills for a continuing and enhanced role in lay ministry.
Following completion of the Foundation Course, if your sense of calling still points towards ordination you will meet with the DDO and the bishop. Candidates will go forward for selection only upon the recommendation of their bishop.
Visit the Theological Institute website for further information on training.