Last updated 21st December 2022
Ordination is both a personal and a corporate journey. God calls, the individual responds and the church affirms. There is a clear pathway in the diocese for those who wish to test a vocation to ordained ministry.
The first step for anyone feeling that God may be calling them to ordained ministry is to go and talk it over with their vicar or rector. S/he will advise them, perhaps suggest some reading to be done or some experience to be gained or task to be undertaken. When the candidate is ready they complete an initial form their parish priest completes this form too. Both are emailed to the Director of Vocations, Rev Nick McKee (firstname.lastname@example.org). An initial interview is then arranged with Nick and then the Bishop of Burnley who, if he recognises a fledgling vocation, will refer the candidate to the diocesan Vocations Advisers.
There is a team of experienced advisers throughout the diocese. The candidate will have a short series of meetings with one of the advisers talking about how they feel God is calling them to ordained ministry (either stipendiary or SSM) and exploring a number of foundational vocational issues.
Please see our policy on candidate's age at ordination.
Once a candidate has finished working with their Vocations Advisor, s/he will have a review with the Director of Vocations. If there is sufficiently clear sense of a possible call to ordained ministry, the Director of Vocations will refer the candidate to work with a member of the DDO Team (contact details of the full team can be found here). Candidates normally meet with their DDO team member about eight times over a period of about six months. During this time the candidate will go to Stage 1 of the national discernment process (see below) and be prepared for Stage 2 of the national process. The candidate’s DDO team member remains with her/him until the discernment process is complete.
As part of the work with a DDO team member the candidate will be required to undertake a one-month placement in a parish different to the one they come from (and maybe further reading and writing) in order to gain a wider experience of the diversity of the Church of England.
All candidates are invited to a Diocesan Stage 2 Practice Day. This day is shaped around the Stage 2 part of the national process (see below) and includes two interviews and a group exercise. Each of the interviews is with a pair of interviewers and they present written reports to the Sponsoring Bishop who then interviews the candidate and makes the decision on whether or not they should proceed to Stage 2 of the national discernment process.
The national discernment process is divided into two stages. The first stage is a series of six mini interviews which candidates undertake via a video call. Candidates are supported with clear information about each interview, which their DDO team member helps them to make good use of. We can also provide computer facilities and office space for candidates to undertake their interviews if that is needed. The interviewers then write a Stage 1 report to help candidates to grow and develop.
Some months later, once candidates have completed their work with their DDO team member, have attended a Stage 2 practice day and had a successful interview with the Sponsoring Bishop, candidates attend a Stage 2 Panel. This takes place over two days in a residential centre and includes two interviews and a group exercise. The report from Stage 2 makes recommendations to the Sponsoring Bishop about whether a candidate should be sponsored for training for ordination.
You can find more information on the national discernment processes here.
Recommended candidates become ‘ordinands’ and train for two or three years (dependent on age and qualifications), and our ordinands usually train at Emmanuel Theological College.
Once candidates have successfully completed IME1, they are recommended for ordination and are helped to find a suitable training post (curacy) before being ordained as a Deacon.
After ordination the Deacon's training continues as they serve a curacy (IME Phase 2) that is usually parished based, under the supervision of a training incumbent and usually lasts between three and four years.
At the end of the first year of curacy, the Deacon is ordained as a Priest.