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Last updated 22nd March 2022

The Process

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.


Parish Priest

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 (nick.mckee@blackburn.anglican.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.


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.


DDO Team

After the Vocations Advisers have endorsed the candidate s/he then works for a period of several months with one of the DDO Team (contact details of the full team can be found here) focusing specifically on the Church of England’s selection criteria.

As part of theprocess 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. When it is felt that the candidate is ready to proceed they are referred to the diocesan Examining Chaplains.


Diocesan Interviews

The candidate will have three separate in-depth interviews with three Examining Chaplains (one Vocational, one Pastoral, one Educational). 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 a Bishop's Advisory Panel (BAP).


Bishops’ Advisory Panel (BAP)

Formerly known as a Selection Conference the BAP takes place from Monday afternoon to Wednesday lunchtime and candidates from across the Church of England are interviewed and assessed as the final part of the discernment process. The BAP makes its recommendation to the Sponsoring Bishop who then informs the candidate of his decision.


Pre-Ordination Training (Initial Ministerial Experience (IME Phase 1)

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.

At the end of the training the cadidates are ordained as a Deacon and can call themselves Reverend.


Curacy Training (IME Phase 2)

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.