Commission on Ministry

Ministry in the Episcopal Church

In the Episcopal Church, the service of baptism includes five questions put to the person being baptized or by the sponsors of an infant. Each one is answered, "I will, with God's help." Every time we renew our baptismal vows, we make these promises again:

  • Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers?
  • Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?
  • Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?
  • Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?
  • Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?

We Episcopalians believe that we keep these promises not only by the work we do at church, but especially by the work we do in the world. All of our congregations in the Diocese of Chicago strive to be places where laypeople can identify their gifts—we often use the word “discernment”--and come to understand how those gifts can be used to fulfill the promises made at baptism. Learn more.

As congregations and other faith communities discern together the gifts of all of their members, they may identify gifts that suggest an individual is called to ordained ministry as a deacon or priest. When that happens, the faith community can undertake further discernment appropriate to their situation and community. Click here for a listing of available discernment resources.

If, as they discern together, the community and individual hear a call to ordained ministry and the community is fully supportive of it, that person can be nominated by the community to begin a period of increasingly public discernment about a call to become a priest or a deacon. For the forms needed to nominate someone to the ordination process, please visit the ministry page for deacon or priest, at the tabs above.

A Letter from Bishop Lee and Deacon Sue Nebel

March 4, 2014

Dear Colleagues:

We are writing to you on behalf of the Commission on Ministry. As you know, COM has the responsibility for overseeing the ordination process and it may be that for which it is best known. We certainly devote a considerable amount of time and energy to it. In the past few years, we have worked to streamline the process. We eliminated deadlines for submission of paperwork. The Postulancy Weekends are now approximately 24 hours long rather than a full weekend. Nominees are told at the conclusion if they have been granted postulancy and, if so, they receive an outline of their formation plan. We have also made resources available on the diocesan website for individuals and parishes about ministry, both lay and ordained, as well as the discernment process. Initially, COM focused on the priesthood. A Task Force on the Diaconate was formed in the spring of 2013 and has been meeting regularly. The group will complete its work this spring. Moving forward, COM hopes to focus on baptismal ministry. Read more.

COM Carta de Obispo Lee y Diaconisa Sue Nebel

4 de marzo de 2014

Estimados colegas:

Nos dirigimos a ustedes en nombre de la Comisión de Ministerio (Commission on Ministry, COM). Como ustedes saben, la COM tiene la responsabilidad de supervisar el proceso de ordenación y quizás por esta función resulta más conocida. Ciertamente le dedicamos energía y un tiempo considerable. En los últimos años, hemos trabajado para simplificar el proceso. Eliminamos los plazos para presentar la documentación. Ahora los fines de semana de postulantado duran aproximadamente 24 horas, en lugar de un fin de semana completo. Al concluir se les informa a los candidatos si se les otorga el postulantado. De ser así, reciben un resumen de su plan de formación. Además, ofrecemos recursos en el sitio web diocesano para las personas y parroquias sobre el ministerio, ordenado y laico, al igual que sobre el proceso de discernimiento. Inicialmente, la COM se centraba en el sacerdocio. En la primavera de 2013 se formó un grupo de trabajo sobre el diaconado y se ha estado reuniendo con regularidad. El grupo completará sus tareas esta primavera. Más adelante, la COM espera poder centrarse en el ministerio bautismal. Leer más.

Change in Lay Minister Licensing

Congregations may now nominate, train and commission locally

August 24, 2012--Bishop Lee and the Commission on Ministry have determined that congregations in the Diocese of Chicago may now nominate, train and commission their own Eucharistic ministers and visitors, lay preachers, and other lay ministers. The Bishop will provide licenses in instances where a local congregation wishes to have an acknowledgement of their selection of lay ministers. Read more.