Discernment in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles


Bloy House:  see ETSLA below.

Candidate:  One who has completed the first half of seminary and completed CPE as a postulant, and meets other canonical and diocesan requirements.  Candidacy generally covers the second half of seminary experience.

Canonical Exams:  Exams taken by candidates for ordination to the Diaconate (Canon 6) and cover these five Canonical areas as prescribed by Canon III.6: Academic studies including The Holy Scriptures, theology, and the traditions of the Church; Diakonia and the diaconate; human awareness and understanding; spiritual development and discipline; practical training and experience.  In addition, course work on misconduct prevention training, civil reporting requirements Title IV, and Church’s teaching on racism. In this Diocese, Canonical exams are used as a diagnostic guide, not an absolute determination of whether or not one will be ordained.

CDC (Congregational Discernment Committee):  a group of lay people in a discerner’s sponsoring congregation or in a Diocesan Discernment Year congregation who help the discerner understand what ministry God is calling them to.

CDSP:  The Church Divinity School of the Pacific, the Episcopal seminary in Berkeley, California.  For a list of other Episcopal seminaries, see the glossary entry under Episcopal Seminaries.

COM:  Commission on Ministry. A group of lay and ordained members from the diocese who shepherd discerners through the multi-year discernment and formation process and advise the Bishop on advancement through that process.

COMpanion:  A member of the Commission on Ministry who is a personal resource and connection to the COM for a person throughout their journey through diocesan discernment and formation – from entry into the DDY through ordination.

CPE:  Clinical Pastoral Education, usually done during seminary at a hospital or similar setting.  Required of all persons in the ordination process and must be completed before consideration for candidacy.

DDY (Diocesan Discernment Year):  A year of ministry and discernment in a congregation apart from one’s sponsoring congregation to help a discerner test and discern the nature of the call to ministry. During the year, the discerner works 6 – 8 hours a week under the direction of a mentor priest and with a new CDC in the assigned DDY congregation.

DDY Conference:   A Saturday conference held once a year giving Standing Committee and COM members an opportunity to meet and interview discerners interested in entering a Diocesan Discernment Year.

Deacon:  A member of one of three orders of ordained ministry (with priests and bishops).  A deacon exercises a special ministry of servanthood under authority of the bishop, serving all people, especially those in need.  See Transitional Deacon and Vocational Deacon below for further information.

Diaconate:  The order of deacons.  As commonly used, the term refers to those ordained deacon as a permanent vocation playing an important role in many diocesan congregations.

DIG (Diocesan Discernment Information Gathering):    – A Saturday conference held a few times a year where potential discerners, CDC committee members, and sponsoring priests can learn about the diocesan discernment process.  Attendance at this event is required for all beginning a congregational discernment process.

Discerner:  One who begins the discernment process at their home congregation for either lay or ordained leadership in the church.

Episcopal Seminaries: The nine official seminaries recognized by The Episcopal Church. See  https://www.episcopalchurch.org/who-we-are/episcopal-seminaries/

ETSLA:  The Episcopal Theological School at Los Angeles (also known as Bloy House), a Diocesan seminary. It is affiliated with the Claremont School of Theology, which is the institution which grants the M. Div. degree.  It also has programs for Diaconal Certification, Anglican Studies, and Lay Ministry development. For a list of other Episcopal seminaries, see the glossary entry under Episcopal Seminaries.

Examining Chaplains:  Members of the Commission on Ministry who review seminary transcripts of discerners, evaluate the General Ordination and Canonical Exams taken by candidates for the priesthood and diaconate, and advise whether further formation is needed.

Field Education:  Often referred to as Field Ed or Field Work, this is a seminary course which includes time spent weekly in a congregation other than one’s sponsoring congregation. Note: Field Ed is not a substitute for a DDY assignment in the discerner’s diocese, nor is it a substitute for CPE.

GOE (General Ordination Examinations): Normally taken in January of a candidate for the priesthood’s last year in seminary, these are written exams on subject matter prescribed by Canon III.7:  Holy Scriptures, History of the Christian Church, Christian Theology, Christian Ethics and Moral Theology, Christian Worship, and the Practice of Ministry in Contemporary Society. In this Diocese, the GOE is used as a diagnostic guide, not an absolute determination of whether or not one will be ordained.

Mentoring Priest:  The Rector or Vicar at the discerner’s Diocesan Discernment Year congregation, who provides guidance throughout the year.

Next Steps Conference: A Friday evening/Saturday opportunity (held once a year) for Commission on Ministry and Standing Committee members to interview Nominees who have completed their DDY program to recommend Postulancy or Lay leadership.

Nominee:  One who has been nominated for postulancy by a faith community and completed a DDY and has applied to the ordination process but who has not yet been accepted as a postulant to either the Diaconate or the Priesthood.

Postulant:  One who has been accepted into the ordination process and has met certain canonical and diocesan requirements. Generally covers the first half of the seminary experience.

Priest:  A member of one of three orders of ordained ministry (with deacons and bishops).  A priest exercises a ministry of community building, pastoral care, administration, and sacramental officiating, usually in a congregational setting, and under authority of the bishop.

Presbyterate:  The college of priests; an alternative term for priesthood.

Sponsoring Priest:  The Rector or Vicar at a discerner’s sponsoring (home) congregation or faith community, who engages in guidance during the first year or so of individual and congregational discernment and who, with the Vestry, Bishop’s Committee, or governing body, agrees to sponsor the discerner for further diocesan discernment.

Transitional Deacon:  Candidates for the priesthood are ordained first into the diaconate as Transitional Deacons, for a period of at least six months before final ordination into the priesthood.

Vocational Deacon:  A deacon whose final vocation and calling is to permanently serve the church and the world as a deacon.