Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina

Vocational and Ministry Discernment Program

In recognition of our baptismal covenant, the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church provide guidelines for ministry of the laos (the people of God). The canons require each diocese to make provision for the affirmation and development of the ministry of all baptized persons, including assistance in understanding that all baptized persons are called to minister in Christ's name, to identify their gifts with the help of the Church and to serve Christ’s mission at all times and in all places. Specific roles express that identity in accordance with God’s calling to each of us to use our unique gifts in the service of God’s kingdom.

In order for an individual to identify the role to which God may be calling him/her, a formal process of discernment may be helpful in discerning God’s call for the church and the individual. Such a discernment process requires time and commitment from the inquirer and his/her sponsoring priest, as well as various other leaders within the diocese. From the onset, it is a process which is often challenging and confusing, and is different for each individual. When vocational discernment leads to a call related to holy orders, a personal journey then becomes a public one, in which the call is further evaluated by the church at large.

It is the hope of the Commission on Ministry that the Diocesan Guidelines for Vocational and Ministry Discernment will assist you on your journey. You are urged to contact the Chair of the Commission on Ministry, Gibert Kennedy, or the Canon for Christian Formation and Leadership Development, The Rev. Canon Jimmy Hartley at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  to ask any questions you may have.

Vocational and Ministry Discernment Time Requirement

It is realistic to allow approximately two years in discerning your vocation and call to ministry. This will allow time for discernment with your sponsoring priest and, if accepted, participation in the Diocesan Vocational and Ministry Discernment Program.

Financial Commitment

If accepted into the Diocesan Discernment Program the approximate cost to fulfill the canonical requirements related to discernment of holy orders ranges between $2000 and $3000. Funding for a background check, psychiatric testing, medical exam, mileage related to internships, and retreats will need to be provided by the inquirer and sponsoring congregation. (It is a canonical requirement that all sponsoring congregations pledge to contribute financially to discernment and formation expenses related to holy orders.)

Application Packet

The Application Packet must be completed prior to consideration for the program. All applications will be reviewed by the Commission on Ministry at their October meeting and applicants will be interviewed by the Commission on Ministry as a part of their application process.

icon Discernment Guide 2018-2019

icon Inquirers Schedule 2018-2019

icon Medical Exam Form 2018-2019



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