Ordained Local Ministry

Are you considering the Ordained Ministry of the Church of Ireland?


God’s Call

God's call is at the heart of vocation. All ministry in and through the Church begins with God's call.

All of us who have been baptized are entrusted by God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, with ministry.  Every member of the Body of Christ is called to serve. God the Holy Spirit equips us and sends us out as bearers of the good news and as witnesses into the world.

Those in ordained ministry are called to a ministry of Word and Sacrament.

Within the Church of Ireland, ordained ministry can be either Stipendiary, or Local.

Stipendiary Clergy once ordained can serve anywhere, whereas Ordained Local Ministers (OLM) are licenced by the Diocesan Bishop or Archbishop to serve in a particular local area, supporting a Clergy Supervisor. OLMs usually are self-supporting with an alternative source of income. If you sense your call is to full-time stipendiary ministry, you can find more information on how to explore your vocation further at this page here

Discernment of the vocation and appropriateness of a place within a diocese, is the first element in the OLM process. If a place warrants the deployment of an OLM the question arises, 'is God calling someone to the OLM in that place?'

This process of discernment can never be easily compartmentalised and, in practice, the first steps may be initiated by different people in a particular place:

:- Possibly an incumbent, or bishop may discern the need for an OLM in a particular parish or locality.
:- The people in a particular place (Parish, Area Deanery or Diocese) may identify someone who, as an OLM, would fruitfully serve in that place.
:- A person may feel called to be an OLM in a particular place, and that sense of call may be affirmed by the people in that place and the Church through the discernment and selection process.

What do I do now?

In the first instance, if you sense a call to Ordained Local Ministry, you should speak with the incumbent, or priest-in-charge, of your home parish.

If you and your rector both agree that there might be a calling to discern, the next stage is for your rector to recommend you meet and discuss your possible calling with your local Diocesan Director of Ordinands (DDO).

Rev Colin Darling
Tel: 07925 672340
E-mail : colin.darling@talktalk.net

At this point, or even sooner, you should consider coming to the Fellowship of Vocation meetings. Contact the DDO for dates of the next meetings.

The Armagh Diocese Fellowship of Vocation meets 3 or 4 times a year and, as its name suggests, aims to allow people discern their calling with like-minded individuals, albeit at differing stages. It is a safe place to discuss thing openly, to learn from each other, to ask questions, to gain from the experience of others who have gone ahead of you, to support and pray for each other, to benefit from the reassurance of the fellowship.

If after discussing your sense of call with the Director of Ordinands and having spent some time with others of a like mind, it is probable that you will be encouraged to enrol for the Certificate in Christian Theology and Practice (CCTP). This is the basic foundation course required for both Stipendiary and Ordained Local Ministry, although the pathway to ordination after successful completion of the CCTP is different.

More information can be found on the Theological Institute website:
Certificate in Christian Theology and Practice - Church of Ireland Theological Institute

This course is designed to assist you in the process of discerning your call as well as preparing you academically for the subsequent 6 further Reflective Learning Modules needed for Ordained Local Ministry.

You should only enrol on the CCTP course after agreeing this with the Diocesan Director of Ordinands. The CCTP Course lasts for about a year.

Having successfully completed the CCTP, before enrolling for Part 2 of the OLM training, you will need to undergo a selection process which involves discussing your calling with a Diocesan Selection panel. The panel may then recommend you also meet your Diocesan Bishop, who will decide on your suitability to begin your further studies for Ordination as an OLM.