Early in 2011 the Diocese of Newark embarked on a new approach to preparation for ordained ministry as well as service in lay ministries, based on our belief that it would be valuable to have a common discernment program for aspirants to both the priesthood and the diaconate. In addition, the Commission on Ministry wanted to develop discernment programs for a variety of lay ministries in a context that would emphasize the connections between lay and ordained ministry.
The Commission on Ministry sponsored a Day of Discernment – which we named God is Calling – How will you Answer? – intended to help those who feel a call to service, to better understand that call, to explain the mechanics of the discernment process, and to prepare them to work more effectively with a discernment committee if they choose to follow that path. That first session was very well attended, and it provided a strong start for several discernment committees now proceeding through their deliberations.
Building on that positive experience, the Commission on Ministry will again sponsor a Day of Discernment on April 14, 2012. For those who sense that they want to discern a call to ordained ministry, attending this day is a requirement. They will likely have already talked to their priest in a series of one-on-one conversations which, if fruitful, will lead to a decision to proceed as an Aspirant. The priest will recommend the formation of a Discernment Committee, in consultation with the Committee on Ministry. Before the discernment process can formally begin, the Aspirant, the priest, and the chair of the Discernment Committee, along with as many Discernment Committee members as possible, must attend the Day of Discernment on April 14.
In addition, individuals interested in the opportunity to consider different models of lay ministry, or in the discernment process in general, are warmly encouraged to attend as well.
Summary of Important Dates
For those interested in the Ordination Process
No Later than February 3, 2012:
The rector or priest-in-charge of a sponsoring congregation is to advise the Chair of the Commission on Ministry (the Rev. Bernie Poppe, 973-762-1319 or email@example.com) of any individual who is interested in seeking ordination to the priesthood or diaconate. Individuals not identified to the Commission on Ministry by February 3, 2012 must wait until 2013 to enter the ordination process.
No later than March 15, 2012:
The rector or priest-in-charge, with the guidance of the Commission on Ministry, will appoint a Discernment Committee to assist the individual during their discernment period.
No later than April 7, 2012:
The rector or priest-in-charge, the Aspirant, the Discernment Committee chair, and at least 3 other members of the Discernment Committee will register to attend the God is Calling discernment day. (See registration information below.)
Saturday, April 14, 2012:
Required attendance at the God is Calling discernment day.
For those desiring to attend as an individual
No later than April 7, 2012:
Lay persons interested in attending to learn more about discernment are to register as noted below.
Registration is required. The cost is $10 per person (or $5 per person if three or more attend from the same congregation or as part of a group with an individual). For questions about registration, please contact Kitty Kawecki at firstname.lastname@example.org or 973-430-9902.