Called to ordained ministry

Discerning what God has called you to do

Ordained ministers are those who have responded to God's call, had that call tested, and have been trained and ordained by a bishop. As ordained ministers, they have promised to serve the church faithfully and have authority from the church for their ministry.

Getting started

If you believe God is calling you to ordained ministry, the best place to start is by talking to your vicar or chaplain.

The next step would be for us to put you in touch with a Vocations Advisor. Please contact us to arrange to speak to a Vocations Advisor or with any further questions. 

In the Church of England we look for certain qualities. You will need to demonstrate your love for God and others, your call to ministry and your potential to be fruitful and wise. You will be asked to show this in your attitude to the Church, Christ, the world and yourself. 


What types of ordained ministry are there?
People may be called to:
  • Full-time or part-time ministry
  • Stipendiary (paid) or self-supporting ministry (unpaid)
  • Incumbent (lead a congregation, church or team) or assistant (part of a team) focus
  • Distinctive deacon or priest
What sort of roles do ordained ministers do?

Ordination can lead to a wide range of job roles beside being a parish priest.

Being a priest is a prerequisite for the senior roles in the church listed below, but ordained people go onto all sorts of roles, such as missionary work, diocesan advisory jobs and chaplaincy.

  • Area dean (leading a team of incumbents and often done in parallel with being an incumbent);
  • Many cathedral posts (i.e. the dean);
  • Many diocesan posts;
  • Archdeacon (a senior position within a diocese);
  • Bishop (the leading minister of a diocese).
What is the discernment process for ordained ministry? How long does it take?

The process discernment process is unlikely to take less than 12 months, and usually considerably longer. Then training at a college or course usually takes 2 or 3 years. Theological college terms all start in September, so if you first meet with a Director of Ordinands in October, you are unlikely to be able to start college until the September almost two years later.

Your own situation may require additional time (e.g. if you or your spouse have been divorced and remarried); each candidate is different and all are considered individually.

The process of discernment can be lengthy and there are lots of forms to complete as well as training and checks that must be undertaken along the way. But don't be put off by this.

The process
  1. Speak to your incumbent or chaplain, then contact us and we will put you in touch with a vocations advisor.
  2. You will meet with a vocations advisor for a handful of sessions. They will submit a report, and you will need to complete Form to Assist Part 1.
  3. Your informal referees will be contacted, and the team will ask you to complete Form to Assist Part 2, safeguarding training and a DBS etc.
  4. Once all of these have been returned, the DDO will be in touch to arrange your first meeting. The average time for a candidate to work with a DDO is 12-18 months, but it can take longer.
  5. Halfway through the process, you will attend a Stage 1 Panel online. This will look at what you know and what you can do.
  6. You will continue working with the DDO, and you may need to work on areas identified in the Stage 1 Panel.
  7. You will attend a 24-hour residential Stage 2 Panel. The bishop's advisors then write a report.
  8. The final decision is made by your bishop.
  9. If you are recommended for training and the bishop accepts this, the Church will sponsor you to go to theological college for two or three years.
  10. After completing training, you will need to undertake a curacy (title post) for three to four years.
What is training and how long does it take?
Training can be part-time or full-time depending on your circumstances. Some ordinands live in college and others are non-residential.

If you are aged 30 and under training will be full-time and will take three years. For over 30s, training is likely to be two years full-time or three years part-time.

Your DDO will let you know when it is time to start considering which course option might be right for you.

Does it matter how old I am?
There are some age restrictions:
  • You will normally be over 23 when you are ordained;
  • Candidates for full-time stipendiary ministry will normally be under 50 when they begin training;
  • It is uncommon for people over 65 to begin training for ordained ministry.
How many people does the Diocese of Oxford ordain each year?
In the Diocese of Oxford, we send about 40 candidates to a Residential Panel each year, about half of whom are looking to be full-time, paid ministers, the other half are looking to be self-supporting ministers.

Ministers who are paid are expected to be willing to relocate for both training and future ministry; self-supporting ministers usually minister near to where they live.

Can I be sure of a title post (curacy) in the Diocese of Oxford?

Unfortunately, we cannot promise you a paid curacy in the Diocese of Oxford.

If you are an unpaid local minister, your curacy and ongoing ministry will be at your local church. If you are an unpaid assistant minister, your curacy will normally be near to where you live (although not usually at the church you attended before or during your training).

For full-time, paid ministers, the Diocese of Oxford usually has 15-20 curate posts, and many, but not all, of these go to candidates within the diocese. We work hard to pair the right post with the right curate, but if we are not able to do this in the Diocese of Oxford, we will let you know early in your final year of training so you can find a curacy in another diocese.

I’m divorced, is that a problem?

The Church of England understands marriage to be a significant and important relationship and recognises that ideally a marriage should last “till death us do part”.

The Canons of the Church of England state: “No person shall be admitted into holy orders who has re-married and, the other party to that marriage being alive, has a former spouse still living; or who is married to a person who has been previously married and whose former spouse is still living.”

However, in certain circumstances, it is possible for the diocesan bishop to apply to the archbishop for a faculty allowing this clause to be set aside. If you are in this situation and believe God is calling you to ordained ministry, we will evaluate your calling on the same basis as anyone else and, if appropriate, apply for the faculty.

What is a Director of Ordinands?
A Diocesan Director of Ordinands (DDO) is appointed by the bishop to oversee, on their behalf, the process of selecting, training, choosing an appropriate curacy, and ordaining of new ministers into the Church of England.

In the Diocese of Oxford the DDO works with a team of area and assistant DDOs. The Oxford Area is shared between the DDOs.

Who are the Directors of Ordinands?
The Oxford Diocese has a team of Directors of Ordinands:
Quentin Chandler

Head of Vocations and Diocesan Director of Ordinands



Jane Hemmings

Area Director of Ordinands



Nicholas Cheeseman

Area Director of Ordinands



Helen Charlton

Assistant Director of Ordinands



Paul Moring

Assistant Director of Ordinands



Rachel Cross

Assistant Director of Ordinands



Administrative Staff

Mandi Bowden

Administrator to Vocations and DDO Team


Jane Barlow

Administrative Assistant to the Head of Vocations and DDO


Follow our social media pages for updates about introductory events and open days.

Instagram | Facebook | Eventbrite

Page last updated: Wednesday 12th January 2022 9:04 AM
Powered by Church Edit