Applicant to Ordination Process

One spends almost a year as an Aspirant testing the strength of your call, meeting with a Parish Discernment Committee while participating more in your Church's Sunday service. During this time you start working on an extensive Application for Ordination. This is not an application to BE ordained, but an application to your Diocese to begin the ordination process.
   The Application process for me was extremely challenging. Having to "air out" your life and beliefs to several groups of people you are not necessarily close with is difficult for anyone like myself who had lived my inner, personal life closed off to the world.
   How did I overcome the inclination to keep up barriers to protect myself from others? Quite honestly, it took a LOT of prayer and discussions with God. That idea of "being called" ground right up against the inclination to protect myself from hurt and criticism. I lost count of the number of times I thought about quitting the process out of fear of hurt, fear of humiliation, or fear of rejection.
   After months of reflection, meditation, and prayer I finally reached the decision that I would just "let it all hang out". I would just open up to "This is who I am", and let the various committees and professionals involved in the process determine if I would be suitable to follow this path. In some ways I had high hopes that I would be deemed unsuitable, and therefore released from this crazy idea, happy to return to my pew on Sunday and just soak up the weekly spirituality. So far, three years into this process I have not been shown the lane to the exit ramp.
   The Application to begin the Ordination process includes credit checks, criminal background checks, medical evaluations, psychological evaluations, education transcripts, work history, reading history, club memberships, and a recommendation from your parish and parish priest. From an individual's standpoint this can seem very prying, but the Church has an obligation to its parishioners, and the community, to fully examine anyone who wishes to take up ordained ministry. A Bishop, Priest, or Deacon, after all, is a direct representative of the Church.
     After numerous forms, interviews, and committee meetings a successful Applicant will be approved as a Postulant, formally received into the Ordination process. For most Dioceses in the Episcopal Church attaining Postulant status is required before being allowed to pursue an educational program to become a Deacon.
   For me, the time from Aspirant to Postulant took almost a year, but the time I spent early on in wrestling with this call and being open and listening to God built a foundation that has served me well in the years since.
   Trusting that God is leading you and walking with you through this process is critical to your formation as a future servant leader in the Church. I'm not sure of how this process will end for me, but I am sure that I have grown in my relationship with the Creator of all. At the core of my inner self, THIS is the greatest treasure to possess!

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