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Discernment in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles

Discernment is personal, but not private. Discernment happens in community because God created us to be in relationship with one another. We need each other’s gifts, experiences and wisdom to further our own spiritual journeys. Throughout the process of discernment, the individual engages in prayer, reflection, and active inquiry with a spiritual director, and conversation with members of the community; always attempting to ascertain the character of the call. It is the responsibility of the local faith community and the Church at large to aid in the exploration, interpretation, and validation of a call by God to ministry.

There are several phases to all discernment processes, regardless of whether it is an informal discernment of gifts, or a formal process leading to ordained ministry. Some of the essential components to this process are:

  • One’s self‐understanding.
  • Community identification/recognition of a call from God.
  • Affirmation of the Church in general.

Discernment in the Diocese of Los Angeles begins with the individual at their local church, then expands into other churches and the wider diocese, in a collaborative community effort. At the diocesan level, it includes the members of the Commission on Ministry, the Standing Committee, the Office of Formation and Transition Ministry, and the Bishop. In each step of the journey, members of these diocesan groups will offer support and guidance to the discerner. The process can seem lengthy, but is designed to be certain in its conclusion and spiritually valuable both to the individual and the diocese. Discernment in the Diocese of Los Angeles, a rewarding process no matter the outcome, usually takes three to five years.  To learn more about the work of the Commission on Ministry, click here.

You can find a one-page graphical overview of the process below.

For a more detailed, one page spreadsheet overview and a discernment glossary, click here.

To find each step described in detail, click here.