FAQ: What is the Process for becoming an ordained minister?
The Director of Ordinands will meet with you over an extended period to confirm that your calling is informed and realistic based on the Church of England’s Criteria for Selection for Ordained Ministry. When the Director of Ordinands is satisfied that you may indeed be called to ordained ministry, (s)he will arrange for the Bishop to send you to a Bishop’s Advisory Panel (a BAP) where your calling will be tested by people skilled in the discernment process. The result of a BAP will either be that you are Recommended for Training (possibly with some conditions attached), or Not Recommended for Training. If you are Recommended and the Bishop accepts this recommendation, the Church will sponsor you to go to Theological College for 2 or 3 years before making arrangements for you to be ordained and take up a title post (curacy).
FAQ: How long does the process take?
The process is unlikely to take less than 12 months. 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 (eg if you or your spouse have been remarried); each candidate is different and all are considered individually.
FAQ: 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.
FAQ: How many people does the Oxford Diocese ordain each year?
In the Oxford Diocese, we send about 40 candidates to a BAP 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.
FAQ: Can I be sure of a curacy in the Oxford Diocese?
Unfortunately, we cannot promise you a paid curacy in the Oxford Diocese.
If you are an unpaid local minister, your curacy and on-going 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 Oxford Diocese usually has 14 curate posts, and many, but not all, of these go to candidates from the Oxford Diocese. We work hard to pair the right post with the right curate, but if we are not able to do this in the Oxford Diocese, we will let you know early in your final year of training so you can find a curacy in another diocese.
FAQ: 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 “til 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.
FAQ: What is a Director of Ordinands?
A Diocesan Director of Ordinands (DDO) is appointed by the Bishop to oversee, on his behalf, the process of selecting, training, choosing an appropriate curacy and ordaining of new ministers into the Church of England. In the Oxford Diocese, the DDO has a team of Assistant DDOs who work with her.
FAQ: Who are the Directors of Ordinands?
The Oxford Diocese has a team of Directors of Ordinands: