Diocesan Process of Discernment

An overview on the Diocesan Process of Discernment

Once you’ve spoken with your vicar or chaplain about your stirrings of vocation, please contact us at vocations@elydiocese.org.

We’ll get back to you first of all with details of the forthcoming Vocations Courses. These are six sessions, usually fortnightly, of 90 minutes, covering a broad curriculum. It is designed to help you explore your vocation, ensure some background knowledge of the Church that calls, and help you discern and articulate what particular ministry it is that you might be called to.

These currently run on Zoom three times a year.

Authorised Lay Ministry (ALM)

If the Vocations Course has helped you see you want to pursue an Authorised Lay Ministry (ALM) calling, then we will ensure you’re in touch with our Diocesan Director of Lay Ministry, Julie Norris julie.norris@elydiocese.org who oversees ALMs, and will make sure you know what you need to do next to apply.

Seeking a Vocations Advisor (VA)

During or after the Vocations Course you will have the chance to ask for a Vocations Advisor (VA), which is a necessary next step if you want to look at Licensed Lay Ministry (LLM) or Ordination.

We try to match up people with Vocations Advisors taking into account where you are in terms of church tradition as well as geography! VAs will spend anything between 2 and 8 sessions with candidates: they will suggest reading and possibly ask for a written assignment or two.

Licensed Lay Ministry (LLM) possibilities

If you are looking at LLM possibilities, the VA will make sure you’re familiar with the LLM selection criteria.

The VA will also help you think around the various specialisms on offer.

If want to go to a LLM Discernment Panel (organised internally in the Diocese every spring), the VA will make sure you are well-prepared for that occasion, which usually involves a group of candidates making and responding to presentations, and two or three short interviews. If you are then selected, you will usually spend two years in LLM Training - beginning from the following September, before licensing two years after that.

An ordained Pathway

If you are heading towards an ordained pathway, after helping you develop clear articulation of why you feel that you are called by both God and the Church to that ministry, the VA (Vocations Adviser) will refer you to a DDO (Diocesan Director of Ordinands). We have a growing team of DDOs who help candidates at that next stage of their journey.

You may be called to full-time or part-time ministry; stipendiary or self-supporting ministry; incumbent status or as an assistant; distinctive deacon or priest after a single deacon’s year. There is a wide variety of ordained ministries and you can gain more of a flavour of these in the Your Church Role section of the website.

With the DDO you’ll engage closely with the discernment qualities for:

  • Ordained Ministry
  • Priests
  • Distinctive Deacons

Candidates normally work with a DDO for 12-18 months before attending a national discernment event. At this stage you will definitely get lots of reading and thinking to be doing, and quite a lot of writing, both written reflections and more forms! If you are then selected, you will usually spend two or three years either in part-time or full-time theological training from the following September – the course you take will largely depend on your age and any prior theological training.

Ordination Dates


  • Priests - Saturday 29 June 2024 at 5pm
  • Deacons - Sunday 30 June 2024 at 10.30am


  • Priests - Saturday 28 June 2025 at 5pm
  • Deacons - Sunday 29 June 2025 at 10.30am

Monastic and Missionary Lives

If you think you might be called to a monastic life, either as a monk or nun or someone else living under vows in the community – note that these are not either/or with respect to Ordained or Licensed ministry, but we wouldn’t recommend you try discerning two callings at the same time, so do think about which is most important to you – then you might want to ask to speak with the Diocesan Director of Ordinands specifically about this.

Similarly, if you think you might be called to missionary work, contact the Diocesan Director of Ordinands directly and explain this is what you are passionate about.

And if all this helps you to own afresh your lay ministry in the church office, in your streets, in your workplace, or wherever you find yourself, that too is a blessing. It is about becoming who God is truly calling us to become at any stage in our lives.

Page last updated: Wednesday 22nd November 2023 4:24 PM
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