Answering God’s call…
The Bishop of Fulham supports vocations to Christian life and ministry, and sponsors candidates for ordination.
For ordained vocations to the priesthood, the process in every case differs depending on the potential candidate’s needs but a general overview looks like this:
- the fostering of a vocation to ordained ministry begins in the parish setting
- the parish priest encourages the potential candidate to contact the Bishop’s Vocations Officer
- the potential candidate completes registration paperwork and meets with the Vocations Officer for a period of discernment which may involve assignments or other tasks to foster the vocation — this part of the process is the most variable
- the potential candidate meets with the Bishop of Fulham for an interview
- all the above being satisfactory, the Vocations Officer recommends the potential candidate to the relevant Area Director of Ordinands who then helps the potential candidate prepare for a Bishops’ Advisory Panel (BAP)
- in due course, the potential candidate attends a BAP and is sponsored for this by the Bishop of Fulham
- if the BAP recommends the candidate for training then conversations ensue about the best training pathway/institution for the candidate
- after the satisfactory completion of training and formation for ordination, the candidate is ordained by the Bishop of Fulham depending on available posts.
The process above describes the procedure for candidates from the Diocese of London. In the Diocese of Southwark, potential candidates follow the diocesan pattern, but early contact should be made with Bishop of Fulham’s office so that candidates can be invited to attend the Vocations Group and other events.
The Bishop’s Vocations Group meets several times a year for worship, fellowship and discussion, and includes those at all stages of the process above for mutual learning and encouragement, as well as building good relationships with the Bishop and others in the process.
Of course, there are many more vocations in the Christian life than the priesthood. Those who feel called to the Religious Life, to ministry as Lay Readers, or to the permanent diaconate, or to other vocations within the life of the Church, should also begin their discernment in discussion with their parish priest. The Bishop’s Vocations Officer will be happy to meet with such persons in due course to help foster and support their vocational development, as will the Bishop of Fulham.
Fr Richard Bastable is the Bishop’s Vocations Advisor and Vicar of St Luke’s Uxbridge Road in West London.
The work of the Additional Curates Society may be helpful to those exploring vocation. They can be found here, https://www.additionalcurates.co.uk