For more information on Vocational Discernment in the Diocese of the Rio Grande please contact Mary Jewell in the Bishop's Office at (505-881-0636) or firstname.lastname@example.org
Vocational Discernment & Development in the Diocese of the Rio Grande
In the Episcopal Church we believe that all baptized people are called as ministers in Christ’s church. As baptized people, we all share a common duty to come together weekly for corporate worship, and to work, pray, and give for the spread of the kingdom of God. In the Episcopal Church we organize our shared ministry according to several “orders”: The Order of the Laity, The Order of Deacons, The Order of Priests, and The Order of Bishops. A small number of both lay and ordained ministers in the Episcopal Church are called to exercise their vocations as members or associates of religious orders or monastic communities.
In the Diocese of the Rio Grande, we are committed to supporting all baptized people in discerning and developing their unique Christian vocations and ministries as lay people, deacons, priests, and bishops.
For Christians, the work of discerning and developing our vocations and ministries is lifelong work. As we change and grow, the particular shape of our ministries must also change and grow.
The Church, on both a local and diocesan level, plays a crucial role in supporting us in this process. Especially in pivotal seasons of vocational discernment, the Church may provide the community, guidance, structure, and resources essential for us to more clearly hear and more confidently heed God’s call to us.
Annual Cycle of Vocational Discernment in the Diocese of the Rio Grande
Each year the Diocese of the Rio Grande offers a variety of opportunities and resources to help members of the diocese continue to discern and develop their Christian vocations in community.
Step 1: Vocations 101 Course/Online Retreat (Weekly in Lent, online) Our annual Diocesan Discernment Cycle begins each Lent with an Introductory "Vocations 101" course. This course/online retreat is open to any and all lay people, deacons, and priests in the DRG and beyond. Each session includes time for prayer, a brief topical presentation, and small group sharing. In this introductory course/online retreat we explore our basic understanding of Christian Vocation in the Episcopal Church. Over the course of five 90 minute sessions, we explore how the particular vows made in three different services from our Book of Common Prayer: the services of Holy Baptism, the Ordination of a Deacon, and the Ordination of a Priest, can shed light on particular aspects of the shared vocation of all Christians, and help us begin to see our own unique vocations, as individual members of Christ’s Body, more clearly.
Note: If you are unable to participate in the Vocations 101 Course/Online Retreat "live" during Lent, you may access session recordings and other materials online to complete the course independently or with a small group at any time.
*Step 2: Eastertide Retreat(*One Saturday in Eastertide, online) *NOTE: Depending on the availability of the Bishop, the Eastertide Retreat MAY take place in the context of Session 1 of the Diocesan Discernment Groups After participating in the Lenten Vocations 101 Course/Online Retreat, those who feel called to deepen their vocational exploration in the context of our diocesan community are invited to register for a half-day virtual Eastertide Retreat with other vocational explorers, members of COMB (the Commission on the Ministry of the Baptized), members of Standing Committee, our Canon to the Ordinary, and our Bishop to share in greater depth regarding the journey of vocational desire, discernment, and development in the context of our lives, our congregations, the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of the Rio Grande.
Note:If you are discerning a possible call to ordained ministry but you've missed the deadline to participate in this year's Lenten Vocations 101 Course and Eastertide Retreat, please do the following ASAP:
talk with your parish priest
make plans to complete the Lenten Vocations Course independently or with a small group in your parish
contact Mary Jewell to request an appointment with the Bishop
contact Mother Sylvia to discuss the possibility of joining a Diocesan Discernment Group
Step 3: Diocesan Discernment Groups (Monthly, May-December, online) Anyone who has participated in the Vocations 101 Course/Online Retreat and the Virtual Eastertide Retreat (as well as those who are invited to do so by the Bishop) may choose to deepen their vocational exploration by participating in a Diocesan Discernment Group. Diocesan Discernment Groups meet virtually once a month for shared prayer and discussion for ~9 months (usually May-December.)
Step 4: New Year’s Vocations Retreat (late January/early February) Each annual diocesan discernment cycle culminates in a New Year’s Vocations Retreat, which marks a turning point in our annual diocesan discernment cycle. It marks the culmination and celebration of the spiritual growth and discernment that has taken place up to that point. And it is the doorway through which participants pass as they embark on a path of ongoing formation for the ministries to which God is calling them. The Vocations Retreat also serves as an opportunity for members of the COMB (The Commission on the Ministry of the Baptized) and the Standing Committee to become better acquainted with the unique vocational journey of each participant, in order to more adequately support the development of each participant’s vocation as it continues to unfold, and to advise the Bishop regarding the preparedness and ongoing formation needs of participants, especially (but not only) those called to ordained ministries.
Step 5: COMB Liason Assignments & Invitations to Apply for Postulancy (late February/early March) Following the New Year's Vocations Retreat, each participant will be assigned a liaison from the Commission on Ministry and a small cohort group to meet with on a quarterly basis for updates and conversation regarding the continued unfolding of their vocational journeys.
Those participants who are pursuing calls to ordained ministry and have been invited by the Bishop to apply for Postulancy will be instructed to begin the formal Application for Postulancy to the Diaconate or Application for Postulancy to the Priesthood at this time.