Clergy Training

Selection of Candidates 

The ACOC welcomes mature persons who feel called by God to the ordained ministry to explore training for Holy Orders. The Church ordains both men and women, single and married, and does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race or national origin, physical condition or age.

Selection for ordination is based on discernment about call, spiritual and psychological fitness, and academic and ministerial preparedness. Candidates must be over 25 years of age before being ordained to Major Orders.

Admission Process

1) Interviews with ACOC clergy, including the Director of Clergy Training. At least one of these meetings must be in person.

2) Written recommendations from persons with direct knowledge about the candidate’s spiritual, ministerial and other personal qualities and achievements.

3) Psychological screening, using instruments designed to assist in assessing the person’s fitness for pursuing seminary studies and carrying out of public ministry. If testing has recently been conducted by another program, those results may be accepted in lieu of repeat screening.

4) Completion of the Seminary Training Program Application questionnaire, which includes demographic information and reflection questions about values, life experiences and vocation. Copies of academic transcripts, Clinical Pastoral Education and sacramental certificates are to be included with the application.

The Seminary Training Program Application may be requested from the Chancery.

Holy Orders

Major Orders include the Orders of Deacon, Priest and Bishop:

Deacons are ordained both for permanent, vocational deaconal service and as transitional deacons who are continuing in their training towards ordination to the priesthood. Deacons see their chief vocation as witness to service. This is the core ordained function – that which forms the basis for all the orders. In additional to their public social service, deacons also preside at weddings and funerals and may be licensed to anoint the sick.

Ordination to the priesthood is for those persons called to public liturgical leadership along with their deaconal service, including presiding at the celebration of the Eucharist (Holy Communion) and conferring of blessings and absolution, as in the sacraments of Reconciliation and Anointing.

Bishops are elected by the clergy and lay leaders of the ACOC for the service of pastoring the Church through administration, spiritual support of its ministers, teaching and public representation, and ordaining of new clergy.

All clergy in the ACOC are responsible for their own decision-making and growth. Each clergy person is to be self-supporting in employment, with areas of ministerial involvement prayerfully discerned in collaboration with the senior clergy of the church. Clergy are expected to maintain open and cordial communications with one another and the bishops and to seek professional assistance when needed. Clergy are to express a public presence that is in harmony with the spiritual ideals of the Church. Spiritual growth through a life of prayer is paramount to ministerial life and witness.

Incardination

Clergy who are already ordained in other historical churches that have retained the Apostolic Succession may apply for transfer into the ACOC. The initial process is the same as that for seminarians applying for admission. (See Selection of Candidates, above)

Clergy who are approved by the initial screening are welcomed on a probationary basis into the ACOC and given ministerial faculties under the supervision of a mentor. This is generally for a period of six months, at the end of which a formal evaluation dialogue is conducted.

Upon mutual agreement, the clergy person is then either released or welcomed into the public ministry of the ACOC.

The Petition for Incardination questionnaire may be obtained from the Chancery.

The Apostolic Catholic Orthodox Church
1900 St. James Place, Suite 880 |
Houston, TX 77056
Tel: 713.977.2855 | 713.266.2456
Fax: 713.266.0845
Email: dcdale@aol.com

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