those tasked with discerning your vocation to ordained ministry think that they
have seen enough evidence that you might be called to be a priest, and that the
time is right to have that tested at a national level, they will consult with
your bishop who will sponsor you for a Bishops’ Advisory Panel, where selection
These are held throughout the year, and are arranged by the Ministry Division of
the Archbishops’ Council (the Church of England). Panels normally last from
Monday to Wednesday, and you’ll be expected to stay over for the whole time.
At a panel, you’re likely to meet up to 16 other men and women also going
forward for discernment of their sense of call to ordained ministry, plus a
total of 6 bishops’ advisers and a Bishops’ Advisory Panel secretary from the
Ministry Division. The advisers, drawn from all over the country, are appointed
by their bishops and trained by the Ministry Division.
BEFORE THE PANEL
Several months normally go by between being sponsored by your diocese
and your panel. Some time beforehand, you’ll be asked to fill in a detailed
registration form, and to provide the names of some referees. You’ll also be
asked to produce a ‘written reflection’ of between 500 and 750 words, on an
aspect of mission and evangelism related to your own experience and to which you
feel drawn as part of your calling.
Your diocesan director of ordinands (DDO)
will send your paperwork to the Ministry Division, which in turn will
send you a booklet entitled Going to a Bishops’ Advisory Panel, explaining in
detail what will be expected of you.
AT THE PANEL
At the panel, you will experience:
- three interviews with bishops’ advisers, which will focus on the criteria for
- a presentation
(which you will have prepared before the panel), in which you will speak for up
to five minutes on a topic chosen by you, relating to an aspect of one of the
criteria for selection;
- a group discussion, which involves facilitating as well as participating
in a discussion group;
- a personal inventory, in which you’ll be asked to respond in writing to
a series of questions based on the criteria for selection;
- a pastoral exercise, in which you’ll be asked to respond in writing to a
complex pastoral situation.
These will help the bishops’ advisers to get to know you as a person, and will show
them the ways in which you meet the criteria for selection.
AFTER THE PANEL
When the panel is over, the bishops’ advisers will send their recommendation
back to your sponsoring bishop, with whom the decision about your future rests,
in the form of a report. The response of the bishops’ advisers will take one of
On receiving the recommendation, your bishop will write to you or
talk to you and let you know of his decision. He will also ask you to get in
touch with your diocesan director of ordinands to discuss the report.
- Recommended for training:
The way is open for you to start your
- Conditionally recommended for training: This means that certain conditions
need to be fulfilled. It may mean that the Ministry Division hasn’t yet received
all of your paperwork—or that you haven’t yet fully met one or two of the criteria
for selection, and need to do some work on them before you’re ready to enter training.
- Not recommended for training:
If this is the case, then
reasons will be given. It is important to emphasise that this is not a
your calling to Christian service and witness, but a call to do that in ways
other than ordained ministry. Your diocesan director of ordinands and
advisers will help you to explore other ways of responding to your calling
Meet some ordinands who’ve been selected for training at the Bishops’
Once you've completed your initial training, what sort of jobs
might be open to you?
You must have loads of questions - why not start with our