Vocation & Call

Vocation & Call

Every Christian is called by God “ to represent Christ and his Church” and to take part in the work of restoring “all people to unity with God and each other in Christ” (BCP 855). God has given every individual particular gifts for service to Christ in the Kingdom of God and, as Christians, it is our life’s work to discern how to best to use our gifts to answer God’s call.

In the Episcopal Church, there are four orders of ministry – lay persons, bishops, priests, and deacons – and each order has their own role in building up the Kingdom of God (BCP 855).

The call to ordained life is one of the Church, not just a person’s choice of vocation, and it is situated in the body of Christ. In the Episcopal Church it is the role of the Bishop, the Commission on Ministry [COM Members PDF], and parish clergy and lay leaders to assist persons who are discerning a call to ordained ministry. The discernment process in the Diocese of Alabama is designed to help individuals explore their sense of God’s call to leadership in the church through a process of prayer, seeking, study, and reflecting in community.

If you are discerning a call to ordained ministry, we encourage you to begin by exploring the resources provided here, which offer a thorough outline of the process and a list of resources that have been helpful to those in discernment. A time of personal reflection followed by discerning with one’s home parish are the next steps in exploring where God may be calling you.

Beginning the Discernment Process

It is important for all those discerning a call to ministry in the church to expand their perspective of the Church beyond their own parish’s walls. This phase will look different for each person but should take its shape from the guides provided. We hope this work will bring you joy as you explore Christ’s Church and seek your place in it.


Lay Ministry

The ministry of the laity is “to represent Christ and his Church; to bear witness to him wherever they may be; and, according to the gifts given them, to carry on Christ’s work of reconciliation in the world; and to take their place in the life, worship, and governance of the church” (BCP 855). Lay leaders work in the world in every way possible and in the church as teachers, pastoral care givers, parish administrators, chaplains, church communicators, spiritual directors, vestry members, Cursillo staffers, and much more. Furthermore, in addition to these and other ministry opportunities, a Bishop can license lay people as Eucharistic Ministers, Eucharistic Visitors, and Lay preachers.


Deacons

The ministry of a deacon “is to represent Christ and his Church, particularly as a servant of those in need; and to assist bishops and priests in the proclamation of the Gospel and the administration of the sacraments” (BCP 856).


Priests

The ministry of a priest or presbyter is “to represent Christ and his Church, particularly as pastor to the people; to share with the bishop in the overseeing of the Church; to proclaim the Gospel; to administer the sacraments; and to bless and declare pardon in the name of God” (BCP 856).


Discerning with Clergy from Other Denominations

The Episcopal Diocese of Alabama is happy to walk alongside clergy of other denominations (not in full communion with the Episcopal Church) who would like to discern for ordination in The Episcopal Church. If you would like to discuss what this process looks like given your current or past ministry context(s) in more depth, please contact The Rev. Geoff Evans.

Beginning the Discernment Process

How do you know if God is calling you to leadership in the Church?

Our baptismal vocation is the single most important calling that we have as Christians, and discernment is the process of prayer, seeking, study, and reflecting in community that invites the Holy Spirit to answer what God may be calling you to do.

> Learn More

Lay Leaders

Lay ministry is the most important order of ministry in the church

The ministry of the laity is “to represent Christ and his Church; to bear witness to him wherever they may be; and, according to the gifts given them, to carry on Christ’s work of reconciliation in the world; and to take their place in the life, worship, and governance of the church” (BCP 855).

Lay leaders work in the world in every way possible and in the church as teachers, pastoral care givers, parish administrators, chaplains, church communicators, spiritual directors, vestry members, Cursillo staffers, and much more. Furthermore, in addition to these and other ministry opportunities, a Bishop can license lay people as Eucharistic Ministers, Eucharistic Visitors, and Lay preachers.

The Diaconate

Deacons are called to a special ministry of servanthood
> Learn More

The Priesthood

A priest is an ordained leader who is called to serve a community as pastor, worship leader and teacher

The ministry of a priest or presbyter is “to represent Christ and his Church, particularly as pastor to the people; to share with the bishop in the overseeing of the Church; to proclaim the Gospel; to administer the sacraments; and to bless and declare pardon in the name of God” (BCP 856).

Discerning with Clergy from Other Denominations The Episcopal Diocese of Alabama is happy to walk alongside clergy of other denominations (not in full communion with the Episcopal Church) who would like to discern for ordination in The Episcopal Church. If you would like to discuss what this process looks like given your current or past ministry context(s) in more depth, please contact The Rev. Geoff Evans.

Nominee Book List PDF
Internship Rector Checklist and Reflection Fillable PDF
Intern’s Reflection Paper PDF
Formation Information
Introduction
Discernment
Lay Leaders
The Diaconate
The Priesthood