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									Receiving or Ordaining Clergy from Christian Traditions other than the Episcopal
Church

Introduction

The canons for ordaining clergy from other Christian traditions recognize that for all
Christian traditions ordination is an action that requires being formed and raised up by the
body of Christ, followed by additional formation and training and then being set apart for
ordained spiritual leadership in the church.

As a result those presenting themselves for ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church
from other Christian traditions have already been formed to serve the church as ordained
persons, albeit in a different denomination. Typically they are seminary educated and
have had several years experience of serving as pastors, preachers, teachers,
congregational leaders and liturgists.

This means that the questions for discernment for those seeking ordination in the
Episcopal tradition, posed by their rectors, the Bishop, the Commission on Ministry and
the Standing Committee are quite different from what is asked of those seeking
ordination for the first time. These questions include: why have you come to this
tradition; why have you come now, what is the expectation for ministry that this tradition
will meet that your ordaining tradition does not? In addition the process for evaluating
these persons for holy orders in the Episcopal Church also seeks to identify any personal
issue or crisis that may be motivating this discernment, any professional conflict or
unprofessional conduct as well as differences between the applicant and those in
authority in their present tradition.

The Diocese of Washington is open to receiving and ordaining clergy from other
traditions regardless of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, sex, marital status,
sexual orientation, disabilities or age. While the church may not fully recognize its
ministry needs at any given time, the diocese is seeking clergy leaders who are
willing to take risks in building up the church. Gifts and talents for a number of
missionary endeavors including planting churches, urban ministry, bilingual
ministry (especially in Spanish), multicultural ministry, young adult ministry and
ministry to the deaf are among the specific talents that are needed. In discerning a
call to being received or ordained in the Episcopal Church clergy from other
traditions are encouraged to consider their ordained ministry in this church in light
of these needs.


The canons provide a different process of reception and/or ordination for each of the
following situations: those ordained or licensed in churches not in historic succession;
those ordained or licensed in churches in historic succession, but not in communion with
the Episcopal Church and those ordained or licensed in churches in communion with the
Episcopal Church.
Clergy Ordained or Licensed in Churches not in Historic Succession

There is no required time period for this process. It may begin at any time the following
conditions are met. In order to be considered the applicant:
        -must be a confirmed adult communicant in good standing in a congregation in
the diocese for at least two years.
        -must participate in one of the vocational ministry retreats sponsored by the
COM.
        -must meet initially meet with the Canon for Deployment and Vocational
Ministry about the process and the gifts that the applicant would bring to the
church and the diocese.

After this meeting the Canon for Deployment and Vocational Ministry will confer
with the Bishop and the applicant will be informed about continuing in the process.
If the applicant continues in the process, he/she must:
        -submit a letter to the Bishop and the COM requesting admission as a candidate
for holy orders.
        -submit certificates from 2 presbyters of this church stating that based on personal
examination, or satisfactory evidence presented to them, they believe that the departure
from the tradition to which this person has belonged has not arisen from any
circumstances unfavorable to the moral or religious character of the applicant, or on
account of which it may not be expedient to admit the person to holy orders of this
church;
        -submit certificates as specified in the canons (III.8.6 and III.8.7) from the rector,
or clergy in charge of the congregation and vestry of the congregation to which the
applicant belongs stating support for this candidacy.

After these materials have been received by the Office of Vocational Ministries a meeting
with a subcommittee of the COM will be set. Prior to the COM subcommittee meeting
the following documents must also be submitted:
        -physical and psychological examinations must be completed.
        -the Oxford Document check is also initiated at this time.
        -transcripts of college and seminary training.

A subcommittee of the COM examines the applicant over the course of several meetings
and makes a report to the Bishop that includes the following information:
        -assurance that the applicant has served in the previous Christian body with
diligence and good reputation;
        -the reasons why the applicant has left his/her denomination to seek ordination in
this church;
        -the nature and extent of applicant’s education and theological training including
field education and chaplaincy or clinical pastoral education;
        -the preparation that would be necessary for ordination to the order this applicant
is seeking.
Upon receipt of this report from the Commission on Ministry, the Bishop and the
Standing Committee may accept the applicant as a candidate for holy orders. There is no
minimum period of candidacy.

During the candidacy period training in the prevention of misconduct is undertaken,
unless already completed. In addition the candidate must complete training in the area of
racial reconciliation and Title IV of the canons. The Examining Chaplain Committee of
the COM will also develop a program of formation for the candidate that makes it
possible for the candidate to be examined by the COM subcommittee and show
proficiency in:
        -church history, specifically the Anglican Church and the Episcopal Church;
        -the doctrine of the church as set forth in the Creeds and in An Outline of the
Faith (catechism);
        -liturgics, including principles and history of Anglican worship and the content of
the Book of Common Prayer;
        -practical theology including the office and work of the deacon and priest,
conduct of public worship, constitution and canons of the church, constitution and canons
of the diocese and public reading and speaking.

In addition a written examination developed by the Examining Chaplains is completed in
which the doctrine, discipline, polity and worship of the candidate’s denomination and
the Episcopal Church are described and differentiated. By canon this examination is kept
on file for 3 years.

After these examinations are successfully completed the candidate may be ordained a
deacon and no sooner than 6 months later ordained a priest.

After reception or ordination each clergy person shall be assigned a mentor priest by the
Bishop in consultation with the COM. The mentor and the clergy person shall meet
regularly for one year to provide the clergy person an opportunity for guidance,
information and a sustained dialogue about ministry in the Episcopal Church.

Clergy Ordained in Churches in Historic Succession, but not in Communion with
the Episcopal Church

There is no required time period for this process. This process begins with a meeting
with the Canon for Deployment and Vocational Ministry about the process and the
gifts that the applicant would bring to the church and the diocese. After this meeting
the Canon for Deployment will confer with the Bishop and the applicant will be
informed about continuing in this process. If the applicant continues a written
application is made to the Bishop by a deacon or priest that includes all of the following:
        -evidence that the person is a confirmed adult communicant in good-standing in a
congregation in the diocese for at least two years;
        -evidence of previous ministry and that all ministerial credentials are valid and
authentic;
        -evidence of moral and godly character meaning that the applicant is free from
any vows or other engagements inconsistent with the exercise of holy orders in this
church;
        -transcripts of all relevant academic and theological studies;
        -certificates from 2 presbyters of this church stating that based on personal
examination, or satisfactory evidence presented to them, they believe that the departure
from the Communion to which this person has belonged has not arisen from any
circumstances unfavorable to the moral or religious character of the applicant, or on
account of which it may not be expedient to admit the person to holy orders of this
church;
        -a vocational statement giving the reasons for seeking holy orders in this church;
        -certificates as specified in the canons (III.8.6 and III.8.7) from the rector, or
clergy in charge of the congregation and vestry of the congregation to which the applicant
belongs stating support for this candidacy.

The applicant must also undergo a physical and psychological screening and Oxford
Document background check.

When all the information is received by the Office of Vocational Ministries it is given to
the Bishop and the Standing Committee. After reviewing this information the Bishop and
the Standing Committee may issue a certificate that the applicant is acceptable as a
member of the clergy of this church. Such a certificate is subject to the successful
completion of an examination given by the COM. This examination may take any form
appropriate to the situation as long as the candidate shows proficiency in the following:
        -church history, specifically the Anglican Church and the Episcopal Church;
        -the doctrine of the church as set forth in the Creeds and in An Outline of the
Faith (catechism);
        -liturgics, including principles and history of Anglican worship and the content of
the Book of Common Prayer;
        -practical theology including the office and work of the deacon and priest,
conduct of public worship, constitution and canons of the church, constitution and canons
of the diocese and public reading and speaking.

In addition a written examination developed and administered by the Examining
Chaplains of the COM is completed in which the doctrine, discipline, polity and worship
of the candidate’s denomination and the Episcopal Church are described and
differentiated. The canons specify that this examination is to be kept on file for three
years.

The applicant must also complete training in the prevention of sexual misconduct, the
civil requirements for reporting and pastoral opportunities for responding to evidence of
abuse, Title IV of the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church and in the area of
racial reconciliation. Before ordination all applicants to be ordained or received into holy
orders shall submit a promise in writing to submit in all things to the discipline of the
Episcopal Church without recourse to any other ecclesiastical jurisdiction or foreign civil
jurisdiction and will sign the oath specified in the Constitution and the ordinal. The
applicant will also be required in the presence of the Bishop and two or more priests of
this church to subscribe to the declaration required in Article VII of the Constitution.

When satisfied with the theological qualifications, the successful completion of the
examination and assured of the soundness of faith of the applicant, and with the advice
and consent of the Standing Committee the person may be received by the Bishop into
holy orders as a deacon and no sooner than six months later made a priest. If the
applicant is already ordained as a priest, this ordination is confirmed and the person is
ordained a deacon in the Episcopal Church. Ordination to the priesthood follows no
sooner than 4 months later.

After reception or ordination each clergy person shall be assigned a mentor priest by the
Bishop in consultation with the COM. The mentor and the clergy person shall meet
regularly for one year to provide the clergy person an opportunity for guidance,
information and a sustained dialogue about ministry in the Episcopal Church.


Receiving and Ordaining Clergy from Other Churches in Communion with the
Episcopal Church

A member of the clergy who is ordained by a bishop of another church in communion
with the Episcopal Church may be permitted to officiate in any congregation of this
church provided that he or she is licensed by the Bishop of Washington. (The clergy
licensing process is described elsewhere on diocesan website.) Before taking charge of
any congregation or being received into this diocese the Bishop must receive Letters
Dimissory or equivalent credentials within six months from the bishop of the diocese
where the clergy member has been canonically resident.

Before receiving a member of the clergy from another church in communion with the
Episcopal Church the clergy person must in writing agree to submit in all things to the
bishop of the Diocese of Washington and the discipline of this church, without recourse
to any foreign jurisdiction, civil or ecclesiastical. In the Bishop’s presence and the
presence of two priests the clergy person must subscribe to the declaration required in
Article VIII of the Constitution. The Bishop and at least one priest who is a member of
the Examining Chaplains committee of the COM shall also examine the clergy person
about his/her knowledge of the history of the Episcopal Church, its worship, polity and
government. When the Bishop is satisfied with the clergy person’s theological
qualifications then the Bishop may receive the clergy person into the diocese as a
member of the clergy in good standing.

A member of the clergy who is a deacon shall not be ordained a priest until having
resided within the jurisdiction of the Episcopal Church at least one year and all the
requirements for ordination to the priesthood as described in the Constitution and Canons
of the Episcopal Church have been satisfied. This includes a physical and psychological
examination, training in the prevention of sexual misconduct, Title IV training and
training in racial reconciliation. In addition the COM will review all college and seminary
transcripts to insure that the training that the clergy person has received is commensurate
with that required of other clergy ordained and serving in the Episcopal Church. In the
event that the COM determines that additional training is necessary then the COM
through the Examining Chaplains will create a program of study for the deacon that may
be undertaken during the residency year.

After reception or ordination each clergy person shall be assigned a mentor priest by the
Bishop in consultation with the COM. The mentor and the clergy person shall meet
regularly for one year to provide the clergy person an opportunity for guidance,
information and a sustained dialogue about ministry in the Episcopal Church.

								
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