Exploring Ordained Ministry

Ordained ministry is one of the most challenging yet rewarding and exciting vocations in modern society.

We welcome inquiries from those exploring a calling to missional leadership in the Anglican Church in the particular context of this Diocese and its ethos. Our desire is to select appropriate candidates and prepare them for dynamic ministry in a changing world.

The experience of God’s call is wonderful and challenging. It might be that you have been encouraged by your parish to explore this direction or the stirring of your heart and mind has come in some other way.

Every year we work with people who explore giving themselves to full-time paid (stipendiary ministry) and those who explore self-supporting ministry. There are many opportunities for ordained ministry including parish work and chaplaincy.

We outline this Diocese’s stages of discernment, education and formation that have been approved by the Bishop of Newcastle.


You should make your initial expressions of interest to Bishop Sonia Roulston. She will explore your expression of interest with you at first over the phone and then may interview you. She will seek the views of those who know you and your ministry. Bishop Sonia will help you explore your readiness to explore a vocation to ordained ministry. She may also arrange an interview with our Diocesan Bishop who may invite you to enter the Diocesan Year of Discernment.

The Year of Discernment

During the Year of Discernment enquirers meet with Bishop Sonia to reflect on the nature of ordained ministry. Over the year you will participate in a number of further interviews and be expected to be active in ministry in your local parish or ministry setting.  At the end of the Year of Discernment enquirers may be invited to a discernment day where you will explore your calling to ordained ministry with a number of people appointed by our Diocesan Bishop.

Theological Education

Over this time people may also begin their theological education. Our theological education provider is Trinity Theological College in conjunction with the University of Divinity, Melbourne. The academic expectations can be found here.

Information about their degree programs can be found at on their website. Candidates in self supporting ministry may also complete degrees in this way or may be encouraged to consider the Certificate or Diploma in Theology through the Adelaide College of Divinity.


Should the Bishop agree to accept a person as a candidate for ordination, they will enter into a period of postulancy and then later a period of intensive formation. Information about this ongoing process is available from the Director of Vocations.

Intensive Formation

The Bishop will normally invite a person to enter the Intensive Formation program when they are able to complete their academic study requirements on a part-time basis over two calendar years.

In addition to completing their academic studies, candidates in formation

  • attend the Ministry Formation which involve both
    • 2 week long ministry intensives which normally run over 5 days and are conducted face-to-face;
    • formation days which are normally held on a Saturday
  • undertake a ministry placement approved by the Bishop completing a program of activity and experience negotiated with the candidate, the Director of Formation and the Placement Supervisor. The placement program must be approved by the Bishop (or the Assistant Bishop overseeing Formation). The placement
    • for candidates for stipendiary ministry involves intensive exposure to different aspects of ministry for an average of 20 hours per week across 10 months of each year
    • for candidates for self-supporting ministry involves sustained exposure to different aspects of ministry over the course of the two years recognising that people in self-supporting ministry will normally continue their ministry under the supervision of another member of the clergy.
  • undertake other spiritual formation and discernment with the support of their Spiritual Director/Spiritual Friend and in response to specific learning outcomes identified by the Bishop or Director of Formation.

The assessment of people in formation is against their readiness to undertake the ministry for which they are being trained. Confidential reports are prepared for the Bishop by the Director of Formation, an Examining Chaplain and the Placement Supervisor.

Updated and approved December 2020.