Making application for Deacon and Priest AEC&F

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(The Apostolic Episcopal Communion & Fellowship is in no way attached to the Apostolic Episcopal Church and is not a part of the AEC in any way.)




How does one become a Deacon in the A E C & F Churches

Here is the order of obtaining Deacon’s Orders. for the Church of England (and other Anglican churches worldwide):  A deacon is the lowest of three orders (deacon, priest, bishop) within the church. The first step is to talk with the diocesan vocations advisor who will give you information and discuss your calling. The first thing he or she will ascertain is whether or not he thinks you have been callled by God, by your answers to questions, manner and so on, or are just thinking of it as some sort of 'career move'. If the advisor is satisfied you are being called then he will pass you on to the Diocesan Director of Ordinands (DDO).

You will meet with the DDO several times to talk through issues surrounding your calling. He will prepare you for further exploration with the Bishop's examining Chaplains. You will see two of these - experienced people (they can be ordained or lay) who will chat through your calling, spirituality, suitability etc in more depth. They will then pass on their recommendations to the bishop. If positive, the bishop will then meet with you and chat to you also, clearing up any issues raised by his examining chaplains. If he is happy then he will officially sponsor you for selection.

Then there follows a three-day residential selection procedure where you will be expected to make a presentation, lead discussions, and have at least three in-depth interviews. If the selectors agree with the bishop, then you will be accepted for training.

Training will take around 2 years full time or 3 years part time. During the training you will be taught theology, bible studies and so on, and put on placement in a local church. At the end of your training you will be presented to the bishop for ordination. This first ordination will be to the 'diaconate' - in other words you will be ordained a deacon.

Although some ordained deacons stay deacons for ever, most, after a year of further on-the-job training, are presented to the bishop again for a second ordination, this time to the priesthood.

Both deacons and priests in the Church of England wear clerical ('dog') collars, and have the title 'Reverend'. Like the Roman Catholic Church, the office of deacon or priest in the Apostolic Episcopal Communion and Fellowship Churches is open to women and men. Deacons can undertake most of the duties of a priest, but they are not authorised to give a blessing at the end of a service, pronounce an absolution after a prayer of confession, or conscerate the bread and wine at the Communion service. They can, however, visit the sick, baptise, preach, officiate at weddings and funerals and so on.

 

The third level of ordination, that of bishop, is received similarly to that of the various Episcopal Churches. With all ordinations and consecrations, and can be received by men and women.

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Filing Fees

The Apostolic Episcopal Communion and Fellowship Churches has non-ordained ministers such as local preachers, lay readers, accredited lay-workers and so on, however, lay ministers are not permitted to celebrate sacraments as an ordained minister or 'priest' would.

Certified/Specialized Ministers listed above: R300.00 ZAR

Deacon and Priest: R 200.00 ZAR

The application will request as references the name of your pastor, ministers acquainted with your ministry background, friends and employers. All references should know the applicant well enough to answer a comprehensive questionnaire.

A synopsis of the required examination for those seeking first time license, along with specific study books will be sent to you to assist you in preparing for the examination.

Most Certified and Specialized Minister applicants may have to pass a written examination in order to become eligible, depending on past experience. Your Pastor or a minister friend will administer the written examination. The Ministries Secretary will notify you in writing that all your references and materials have been received and you will be requested to contact the ministry offices and arrange a time and place for the test to be given. Applicants will be asked to use only their Bible during the examination

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Financial Responsibilities

The work of Apostolic Episcopal Communion and Fellowship Churches, in its program of developing the spirit of cooperation and fellowship in home and foreign fields, incurs expense, including the financial support of the national offices. A suggested minimum offering is listed below for each level:

Priest - R500.00 ZAR monthly

Deacon - R500.00 ZAR monthly

Certified - R300.00 ZAR monthly

Senior Retired - Free-will basis

All credentialed priests / ministers are urged to give more than the suggested amount, either personally or through the church where they are a pastor.  


Annual Credential Renewal

Credentials are to be renewed each year on the form provided annually. They are mailed in November each year and are to be completed and returned to the Dayspring / A E C & F Churches offices no later than December 31. Priests should call the Ministries office if they have not received their form by the first month of the quarter before their credentials are to be renewed.

Renewal fees are as follows:

ANNUAL RENEWAL FEE FOR ALL MINISTERS R500.00 ZAR

Renewals received after January 1 R200.00 ZAR

Reinstatement fee if credentials lapse R125.00 ZAR

Postmarked after January 15

Reinstatement

Applicants for reinstatement must complete an Application for Reinstatement provided by the Secretary/Treasurer. If the applicant has been lapsed for less than two (2) years, they shall be required to furnish three (3) references. If the applicant has been lapsed for two (2) years or more, they are required to take the written examination according to the status of credential for which they are applying.

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Prior to Applying for the Ministry

Become heavily involved in a parish located in the diocese in which you wish to be ordained. Get to know all members of the church leadership, as well as a significant portion of the congregation.

Assist in church ministry programs that reach beyond church services, such as feeding the poor, ministering to homeless, and caring for children. These will be the types of activities in which you will be most heavily involved after becoming a deacon.

Attain familiarity with the rites, liturgy, organization, and history of the Apostolic Episcopal Communion & Fellowship

Reflect on your desire and suitability to be a deacon. Parish and diocese leaders reviewing your application will want to see substantial evidence of serious thought and planning before the ordination process can begin.

Administrative Process

Begin by discussing your desire to be a deacon with the parish rector or head priest. Explain the reasons why you want to join the church ministry, and indicate how your experiences so far at your parish have prepared you for the diaconate.

Meet with a committee of lay members of the congregation over several months, during which time you will discuss your calling and your suitability to serve as a deacon

Ask your parish rector or head priest to send a letter endorsing your candidacy to the bishop of the diocese. This will alert the diocese of your desire and inaugurate any administrative processes that have to be completed at that level (requirements vary by diocese).

Complete any educational requirements required by your diocese for becoming a deacon. This may vary from a series of readings to a formal educational program (often the Education for Ministry program) that lasts 3-4 years.

Fill out all forms, sit for all interviews, and attend all meetings stipulated by your diocese. This process, in conjunction with your education program, will begin to familiarize you with the responsibilities of a deacon, and will allow church leaders to evaluate your suitability.

Apply for admission to your diocese deacon formation program. The program will usually last two years, during which time you will be assigned to a parish and will being to work as a minister.

Complete all final administrative requirements and schedule a date for your ordination by the bishop.

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How does one become a Priest in the A E C & F Churches

Priests in the The House of Bishops
Apostolic Episcopal Communion and Fellowship are called to ordination by God, and the call is confirmed by the church in a discernment process with the prospective candidate for ordination. If you believe you may be called to the priesthood, or if people have suggested that you consider ordination, the House of Bishops, Apostolic Episcopal Communion and Fellowship offers a process to help you to explore that call. The entire process of prayer, education and consultation will take several years.

Test your vocation initially in prayer and by participating in ministry opportunities in your congregation.

You are known as an aspirant during this initial phase in the ordination process. Explore your vocation within your congregation. Ask your rector to pray with you and tell him or her that you are exploring the possibility that you are called to ordination as a priest.

You will meet with representatives of the congregation, usually the Vestry (the elected lay leadership of the congregation) if your priest agrees that you may have a vocation. They will help decide whether to present you to your diocesan bishop and Commission on Ministry for consideration as a postulant for ordination, which is the next step in the process toward ordination.

Meet with your bishop and Diocesan Commission on Ministry if you have the support of your parish committee and your rector. Share your discernment process to date and ask for guidance. Your diocesan bishop and Commission on Ministry will determine whether to approve you as a postulant, the first formal step in the ordination process. Plan for, and begin, your seminary education.

The House of Bishops, Apostolic Episcopal Communion and Fellowship, has an online University with several teaching centers in parts of Africa, the United States and around the world.  There is also a consortium of schools attached to Dayspring Christian University.  Study for the priesthood can be accomplished at DCU or other schools attached to the University. You must apply to, and be accepted by, a seminary, which is a 3-year graduate program leading to a Masters Degree in Divinity. You may, if your diocese permits, attend a non-Episcopal seminary. You will need to complete additional studies or training in the Anglican tradition. Continue to work and pray with your bishop, Commission on Ministry and home parish during your seminary studies.

Postulants write Ember Day letters 4 times during the year to their bishops. Ember Day letters are written during the week of the third Sunday in Advent, the week after the first Sunday in Lent, the week beginning with Pentecost, and the week after the first Sunday following Holy Cross Day. Ember Days are traditionally special days of prayer and fasting for those preparing for ordination. Ember Day letters report to the bishop on your reflections during this phase of your spiritual journey.

You will also continue during seminary to meet with your bishop and other diocesan representatives as prescribed by the regulations of your diocese. Apply to your bishop, Commission on Ministry and Standing Committee to move forward in the process and be considered a candidate for ordination.

You will usually be a candidate for at least 6 months before applying for ordination as a deacon. Take the General Ordination Exam (GOE), usually during your final year of seminary. All candidates for ordination must take and pass the GOE. The exam consists of 7 essay questions, given over 5 days. Candidates are given 3 hours for each essay. The GOE covers the 7 canonical areas of the Holy Scriptures, Church History, Christian Theology, Christian Ethics, Contemporary Society, Liturgics and Music and Theory and Practice of Ministry. A new exam is developed each year by the General Board of Examiners of the church.

Apply for ordination as a deacon. You will serve as a deacon for at least 6 months before being ordained a priest. Apply for ordination to the priesthood. You may be ordained to the priesthood upon the approval of the Commission on Ministry, the Standing Committee and the bishop.

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