Vocations Office Report 2018

There are eight individuals preparing for ordination to the priesthood from DioCal. We have people studying at CDSP, VTS and Yale. Candidates who have completed their formal education are now involved in creative supervised ministries around the diocese.

Three people are preparing for ordination to the vocational diaconate. The process and goals of formation through the School for Deacons are undergoing a significant updating, so our current postulants are graciously piloting new ways of learning and experiential formation. They are teaching us much about the best ways to form deacons for ministry in DioCal.

Ordinations are always a highlight of the year – and this year were truly a moveable feast. In December 2017, Marguerite Judson, Isabella Sempari, and Sarah Warfield were ordained to the priesthood in Grace Cathedral. In February, Jennifer Nelson was ordained to the vocational diaconate at St.Paul’s, Oakland. Dan Joslyn-Siemiatkoski was ordained by Bishop Marc to the priesthood in the chapel at Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, TX. In July, Jureck Fernandez was received as an Episcopal Priest at Holy Child St. Martin in Daly City. These were all celebrations of both new ministry for the individuals and the powerful ministries of the communities sponsoring and sustaining them.

Discernment, for lay as well as ordained ministry, is a high priority for the Vocations office. Through Day of Discernment (DOD) and Time of Discernment (TOD), we emphasize the importance of life long discernment for ministry in daily life. In addition to the regular DOD programs, we have been able this past year to design focused discernment days for the Tongan Congregation at St. Paul’s, Burlingame, and the members of Our Saviour, Oakland. Both of these offered opportunities for discerning community as well as individual calls to ministry.

We have also worked with Local Discernment Committees to tailor and adapt discernment practices to best meet in needs of the individual and the sponsoring community, and to provide training in discernment practices for those who are walking with the individuals who believe they might have a call to holy orders.

Vocations, working with the COM and the Bishop, was able to provide clergy debt relief and student financial aid totaling almost $60,000 to 19 individuals. The Diocese of California is working toward being able to assure that people sponsored for holy orders in this diocese will not leave seminary or School for Deacons with significant debt.

We always remind people that discernment and formation for ministry in the Episcopal Church are community based. It is not just the work of the Bishop of the Vocations Office to do this. It takes individual congregations, deaneries, the Faith Formation working group, the, the COM and Standing Committee, the Arch-Deacons, the Transitions office, the seminaries and School for Deacons, Grace Cathedral, and so many more that make it possible for the Diocese of California to raise up amazing ministers – ordained and lay. If you would like additional information about vocations matters, please contact Melissa Ridlon at melissar@diocal.org.

— Melissa Ridlon, Vocations Officer