Exploring the Call

Exploring God’s Call for Your Life  Discernment Phase 1, Summer 2014 

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All of us are blessed with gifts and talents from God. Like seeds, they are already planted in our souls, waiting for the right conditions to support growth. As human beings created in God’s image, we have been given the capacity to grow into healers, peace-makers, advocates for justice, and active participants in building relationships that promote love and trust. The manifestation of God’s purposes on earth is dependent upon our willingness to acknowledge and use our gifts for this greater mission. As we follow Jesus, we experience times of clarity about our unique gifts, purpose or sense of ‘call’ from God. At other times, we have no idea what God’s call means for our daily lives. Struggle and restlessness may fill our souls as we wonder, wait and pray for guidance. It is at this very juncture that we need the support of Christian community to help us discern or discover the call that is particular to each one of us. How does this happen in the Episcopal Church of New Hampshire?

  • Speak with your priest.
  • Your priest may choose to contact Canon Hannah for an initial meeting where you and your clergy sponsor come together to learn more about our process for discernment of call. There will also be opportunities for small groups of seekers to gather with her to receive the information and have shared discussion.
  • The first step in the process is a 6-month time period for a Clearness Committee to meet with you 2-3 times. Toward the end of this initial stage of discernment, you meet with Bishop Rob for a conversation.
  • After the Clearness Committee (and with the Bishop’s approval), you would then move to the next phase that involves meeting with a Regional Discernment Committee for another 6 month time period. One person from your parish would be included in this group of trained and skilled individuals gathered specifically to support you in the discernment process of call.
  • At the 3-month mark, the Regional Discernment Committee writes an initial report for Bishop Rob to share their sense of your call. You will be asked to write a brief report as well for the Bishop.
  • When the six-month period is complete, the Regional Discernment Committee writes a final report for Bishop Rob indicating their assessment of your call to a particular ministry. This information is shared with you and your clergy sponsor at a meeting with the Bishop.
  • For people whose call is within the lay order, there will be support and guidance offered through the Commission on Ministry and the Canon for Lay Leadership, Judith Esmay.
  • For those whose call is within the ordained order, a meeting is scheduled to meet with the Canon Hannah, to learn more about the three-year (minimum) process leading to diaconal or priestly ordination.

A year-long process for discernment of call

  • Speak with your priest (clergy sponsor)
  • Meet with Canon Hannah.
  • Begin meeting with a spiritual director.
  • Clearness Committee: 6 months (Fall) Meet with Bishop Rob toward the end of this time.
  • Regional Discernment Committee: 6 months (Winter/Spring) After 3 months, meet with Bishop Rob. Write a reflection/report for him.
  • Complete discernment process and meet again with the Bishop and your clergy sponsor.  

Create together the next steps that will support you in living more fully into your call as God’s beloved.

The Rev. Canon Hannah Anderson, Canon to the Ordinary, The Episcopal Church of  NH (603) 224-1914, ext. 26, handerson@nhepiscopal.org