Ordained Ministry

Picture by Keith Mindham

"I received a card from a friend encouraging me to go into ministry - this ignited a fire that burned for ten years before I acknowledged it!  When I finally responded it felt right, like this is what I was supposed to be doing all along."  Laura Pope, Ordinand training at Westcott House, Cambridge.

Ordained Ministers (deacons and priests) are called to represent the church in the wider world. They lead the church’s mission and ministry through worship and prayer, preaching and teaching, community engagement and pastoral work.  Some ordained ministers are self-supporting and serve locally, and some are stipendiary. Some are parish-based, while others serve in schools, hospitals, prisons and elsewhere as chaplains.


The pathway to ordination is the same for all clergy, and involves a discernment process which usually begins within your own congregation and conversations with your own priest or with the Diocesan Director of Ordinands (DDO) or a member of his team.

If your call seems to point clearly towards ordained ministry, you will start working with diocesan staff. We will work with you to identify what type of ministry is right for your unique gifts and talents. This part of the process is one of preparation and formation, and can therefore take a long time. It may take from one to three years.

Time spent discerning your vocation is a time of personal growth. You will be increasing in self-awareness, developing a disciplined prayer-life and building your knowledge.

Once agreed on a path towards ordination you can train at a theological education institution or through our Bishops’ Auxiliary Ordination Pathway (AOP).


The Diocesan Auxiliary Ordination Pathway is designed for those in whom the Church discerns a vocation to ordained ministry which they would exercise normally in their home or work locality, to build up the body of Christ and show and share their Christian faith where they live.  AOP is focused primarily on ordinands who are likely to serve as selfsupporting assistant priests in the parish or benefice which sponsors them.  Further details are available here:

Auxillary Ordination Pathway | PDF

Contacts and more information

For further information about discernment, selection and training, contact the Revd Chris Eyden, Acting Diocesan Director of Ordinands. To discuss becoming a Self-Supporting Minister, please get in contact with the Revd Tony Redman, Bishop's Advisor for Self-Supporting Ministry. 

The Church of England offers a comprehensive overview of ordination and includes guidance on selection and training:

Church of England Preparing for Ordained Ministry | Weblink

Ordained Vocations Mentor Directory | Weblink

Confidence in Cross Cultural Conversations (Zoom course) | Weblink

If you are interested in becoming a Self-Supporting Minister, you can read our SSM leaflet:

SSM Leaflet | PDF

Page last updated: 4th May 2021 2:50 PM