Preparation for ordination

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1 Becoming a Deacon Guide for deacons in formation in the Diocese of Louisiana CANON III.6 By entering you into the formal discernment process, the church starts you on the road to ordination as a deacon. Ordination is not automatic, however, but involves strenuous preparation and evaluation of how you meet the requirements and objectives. Before you may be ordained, you must fulfill all the requirements of The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Louisiana. Deacon Maggie Dawson is Director of Deacon Formation and your supervisor (home or Before ordination, the Canon to the Ordinary will send you forms as needed and receive the completed forms. Preparation for ordination You will be part of a class preparing for the diaconate, a community of servant leaders under supervision. Formal preparation of each class begins every three years and, for those who fulfill all the requirements in time, ends three years later. The class then continues for two years after ordination. Before ordination, you must "be prepared in and demonstrate basic competence in five general areas" (Canon [f]): 1. Academic studies, including the Holy Scriptures, theology, and the tradition of the church 2. Diakonia and the diaconate 3. Human awareness and understanding 4. Spiritual development and discipline 5. Practical training and experience The Bishop, in consultation with the Commission on Ministry and Standing Committee, has set forth the course of study outlined below. As part of your study, you are required to undergo periodic evaluations and, before ordination, a final evaluation. Revision

2 1. Academic studies Thorough knowledge of the Bible A working knowledge of the church's doctrine, liturgy, history, ethics and moral theology, and spiritual tradition Identifying ancient heresies in today's church Reflecting theologically on contemporary concerns Education You must complete the diocesan School for Ministry (SFM) either before or during the three-year period of preparation for ordination. You must complete the first two years of Education for Ministry (EFM) either before or during the three-year period of preparation or during the two-year period of post-ordination formation. Your parish pays the fees and other costs (but not retroactively). School for Ministry You must attend all sessions unless excused for good cause (e.g., illness). If you are excused from an SFM session, you must make up the missed work by listening to tapes of the session, reading the required material, and making a written report to the school Director based on the tapes and reading. If you miss more than one session in any academic year, the Archdeacon will evaluate your progress and, if necessary, report to the Bishop. Successful participation in the School includes: Preparing for each session and grasping the materials Being involved in the plenary session Being involved in small groups Showing sensitivity to others and their ideas Interacting with others The Director of the School for Ministry keeps a record of your participation, including preparation, involvement, and interaction, as a basis for final evaluation. 2. Diakonia and the diaconate Meanings of diakonia and diakonos Biblical and primitive roots of the diaconate Drastic changes in the medieval and modern church Contemporary commitment to mercy and justice Deacon Formation Group The Deacon Formation Group meets monthly for 33 months over three years, under the supervision of a deacon. In these meetings the class prays, shares, and trains in the skills of being a deacon. You must be a postulant (i.e., in the final stages of selection) before being in a Deacon Formation Group. You must attend all meetings unless excused for good cause. If you miss more than one meeting a year, the Director of Deacon Formation will evaluate your progress and, if necessary, report to the Archdeacon and the Bishop. The Director of Deacon Formation keeps a record of your participation as a basis for final evaluation. Revision

3 3. Human awareness and understanding Developing the capacity to relate to others Entering into dialogue with those who differ, including their interpretation of theology and scripture Articulating biases in race, sex, culture, and class Dealing with people of diverse ages and generations There are four special components. For each you submit evidence of completion, to become part of your ordination file: Boundaries training You receive training dealing with the prevention of sexual misconduct (adults and children). Anti-racism training You receive training in anti-racism. Title IV training You receive training in the Constitution and Canons of the Church, particularly Title IV thereof, the canons on discipline of clergy. Culture and Reconciliation Training You receive training in areas such as anti-sexism. 4. Spiritual development and discipline Observing Sunday Eucharist and daily prayer, reading scripture Developing commitment, accountability, and obedience Using resources such as a spiritual director and retreats Practice in sharing the love of Christ Liturgical and prayer life You participate in the liturgy on Sundays and the Paschal Triduum, read scripture regularly, and pray daily (especially using the daily office). Spiritual direction You make regular use of spiritual direction, including monthly or bimonthly meetings with a trained and qualified spiritual director. Annual retreats You attend one silent retreat of at least two days every year. Sacramental confession You are encouraged to make a sacramental confession at least once every year. Revision

4 5. Practical training and experience Supervised practice in pastoral ministries of care and/or other specialties Practice in collaborative leadership Field work in other congregations or ministry sites Practice for the deacon's role in liturgy CPT / CPE / You take Clinical Pastoral Training (CPT) or a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). The diocese requires CPT as the minimum for ordination as a deacon. With the approval of the Bishop, you may complete an equivalent pastoral course or experience, called under certified supervision and with evaluation. CPT involves 200 hours of didactic and practical training at a hospital or other community location. CPT is offered from time to time for deacon candidates of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans and is also made available to Episcopal candidates. The Loyola Institute for Ministry of Loyola University New Orleans also offers CPT. A fee may be charged. Contact the Archdeacon for further information. At the completion of CPT or CPE or the equivalent, you submit your certificate and written evaluation to the Archdeacon, to become part of your ordination file. Field project You complete a field project, under supervision, of a ministry in the world, chosen from a wide variety of sites. You make proposals to the Archdeacon and the Director of Deacon Formation, who approve your choices. Parish Assignment You complete an assignment to another congregation from September through May of the second year. Assignments are made by the Archdeacon and approved by the Bishop. Other requirements Personal goals and objectives In addition to the objectives outlined in these guidelines, you propose three goals for formation, with several specific objectives for carrying out the goals. You are expected to complete the objectives before ordination. Memberships You become a member of the North American Association for the Diaconate (NAAD). Annual dues for students are $30 (after ordination $50). Send a check to NAAD, 271 N. Main St., Providence, RI or join via their web site at We suggest you also join an online deacons group by going to and signing up as a member; then, on the same site, join "anglodeacons." Revision

5 Basic reading You read the following and other books (order from NAAD or online): James M. Barnett, The Diaconate: A Full and Equal Order (Trinity Press Intl, 1995) John N. Collins, Deacons and the Church (Morehouse, 2002) Ormonde Plater, Many Servants: An Introduction to Deacons, 2nd ed. (Cowley, 2004) Deacon mentor You are assigned an experienced deacon as mentor, and you meet regularly with the mentor. Annual Ministry Conference You are required to attend the annual Ministry Conference at the Solomon Episcopal Conference Center, at diocesan expense. Here the Commission on Ministry and the Standing Committee may interview you to see how you are getting along. Ember Week letters You are required to write the Bishop four times a year during the Ember weeks, reflecting on your academic, diaconal, human, spiritual, and practical development. These weeks occur after: Lent 1 Pentecost Day Holy Cross Day (September 14) St. Lucy's Day (December 13) Canonical steps Nomination the initial period of decision making. Postulancy is the time between nomination and candidacy and may initiate the formal preparation for ordination. Postulancy involves continued exploration of and decision about the Postulant's call to the Diaconate. (Canon III.6.3) Candidacy is a time of education and formation, in preparation for ordination to the Diaconate, established by a formal commitment by the Candidate, the Bishop, the Commission, the Standing Committee and the congregation or other community of faith. (Canon III.6.4) Ordination takes place when you have successfully completed preparation and are ready for ordination, as determined by the Bishop in consultation with the Commission. If the Standing Committee approves, the Bishop may ordain you (Canon 6.6[c-d]). A detailed checklist that outlines the ordination process can be downloaded from the diocesan website. Legal status Until ordination you remain a "lay person," eligible for service on the vestry and other bodies of the congregation and diocese. You have begun the journey to a new role in the church, however, and should concentrate on preparation for ordination. You should reduce your former duties and not accept any further election or appointment. If you serve on the vestry, you are not allowed to sign any certificate for candidacy or ordination. Final Evaluation In the spring of your final year, you undergo a final evaluation by a committee of three personsdeacon, priest, and layperson-meeting with you. The committee reports in writing to the Bishop and Commission (Canon III.6.3[g]). Revision

6 You are expected to show basic competence in the required subject matter and to meet all the above requirements and objectives. During the period of preparation, the School for Ministry, Diaconate Formation Group, CPT (or CPE) supervisors, and others keep a record of your participation and attainments. At the formal evaluation, the committee reviews your materials, interviews you, decides whether you have met the goals and objectives, assesses your attainment of competency, and makes recommendations for formation after ordination. The committee reports to the Commission on Ministry and the Bishop. The Commission on Ministry decides whether you are ready for ordination as a deacon. If the Bishop agrees, and the Standing Committee approves, ordination may take place. As a Deacon Internship After ordination, you spend two years in a period of internship, under supervision, as appointed by the Director of Deacon Formation. This period involves special assignments and projects, perfection of your liturgical role, and gaining familiarity with the national and diocesan canons on ministry. During their internship, the newly ordained deacons continue meeting as a class monthly for five months and quarterly thereafter. You must attend all meetings unless excused for good cause. If you miss more than one meeting a year, the Archdeacon will evaluate your progress and, if necessary, report to the Bishop. For one clinical assignment, intern deacons will start, sustain, and then walk away from a ministry done by others. Continuing formation Thereafter, all deacons take part in at least one continuing formation program or event each year. You report completion of this requirement in your annual report to the Archdeacon. Deployment Often, the Bishop assigns new deacons to their home congregation, although for good reason the initial assignment may be elsewhere. As part of the missionary strategy of the diocese, from time to time the Bishop may assign deacons to another congregation. Redeployment may occur on a change of priests or after a few years in the original parish. Assignment of deacons always involves the initiative of the Bishop after consultation with the priest and the deacon. Revision

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