Discovery Retreat - FAQ

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What is the Discovery Retreat?
The Discovery Retreat is a weekend gathering to assist participants in becoming intentional about discovering their God given gifts and talents and how these gifts might be used in the mission of the church. 

Who can attend the Discovery Retreat?
The retreat is open to all confirmed members of EDOT who wish to take the time and make a commitment to discern their vocation.

When and where are the Discovery Retreats held?
Discovery Retreats will be held at Camp Allen (

How does one sign up to attend a Discovery Retreat?
As retreats are scheduled, notices regarding the retreat will be sent out through the Diocesan e-newsletter Diolog. A link to register online will be included in the notice. Each retreat is limited to 30 participants.

How do I decide whether to attend?
Each person is encouraged to have a conversation with his/her Head of Congregation for spiritual counsel and support to participate in the retreat, although permission from your church leader is not required to attend the Retreat.

Those who are discerning a call to ordained ministry will be required to participate in a Discovery Retreat prior to going through the canonical application process.

How much does it cost to attend the Retreat?
For retreats held at Camp Allen, the cost per participant is $175.00 for double occupancy or $200.00 for single occupancy. The costs for retreats held in other locations in the Diocese will vary depending upon local accommodations.

What is meant by “regional discernment?”
Previously, discernment committees were “local” and a required part of the canonical application process. The discernment committees will be expanded to include members from the seeker’s* local congregation and members from neighboring Episcopal churches, which will form Regional Discernment Committees.

*A seeker is a person in discernment. 

The increased focus on becoming more “missional” in our ministries requires a need to raise up leaders to serve our churches, their surrounding communities and the Church in the world. The shift from local discernment to regional discernment is expected to broaden the base of support for those in discernment, by including input from those inside and outside one’s immediate congregation and it must include the discernment of lay leaders to lead ministries in our communities.

When will the Regional Discernment process go into effect?
The regional discernment process has replaced the current local discernment process effective January 2, 2016. Anyone participating in a canonical discernment process after January 2, 2016, will use the regional discernment process. Those who completed a local discernment process prior to December 31, 2015, and submitted all required applications by January 1, 2016, were not be required to participate in the regional discernment process. 

What is the role of the Head of Congregation (Rector, Vicar, Pastoral or Church Leader) in the new process?
The Head of Congregation will:

  • Retain the primary role they currently hold in identifying, counseling and raising up those whom they believe are called to leadership in ministry.
  • Recommend and support members of their congregation to attend a Discovery Retreat.
  • Initiate the canonical application process for ordination, if he/she and the Regional Discernment committee agree the seeker has a call to ordained ministry. 
  • Present the nomination of the seeker and the recommendation from the Regional Discernment committee to the vestry or Bishop’s Committee.
  • Submit required documents to the Commission on Ministry, if the seeker has the support to proceed in the canonical application process. 
  • Counsel and direct those discerned for lay ministry to additional resources to help them further develop their call.

What is the role of the Vestry or Bishop’s Committee?

  • The role of the Vestry/Bishop’s Committee remains the same for those seeking approval to continue the discernment process for ordination. They are responsible for the formal nomination of the seeker to the Commission on Ministry. 
  • The Vestry/Bishop Committee may be required in the discernment and funding of lay ministries which might be identified.

What are Regional Discernment Committees?
Regional Discernment committees are made up of members from a seeker’s local church and surrounding Episcopal churches that have been trained in the new discernment process to guide and assist a seeker in discerning what they believe is a call from God to a vocation to serve the Church. The Regional Discernment committee is required for a seeker discerning a call to ordained ministry and optional for those discerning leadership in lay ministries in the church and lay lead missional ministries. The Regional Discernment committee will replace the current Local Discernment committee as outlined in the application for Holy Orders. 

How are Regional Discernment Committee members selected?
Clergy in the Diocese will be asked to nominate members from their congregations who they believe have the gift of discernment and who are willing to serve, as needed, over a period of one to two years. Clergy are also welcomed to be trained and participate on discernment committees outside of the congregation.

Will these be “standing” Regional Discernment Committees?
There will be a pool of people trained as “standing” committee members who would be available as called, who are trained and serve for a maximum of three years. It is expected that others will need to be trained, as needed.

How many members would serve on a Regional Discernment Committee?
The committee will be made up of 5 to 6 members. It is expected that 2 members be from the seeker’s local congregation. One of these should be a vestry member.

What regions have been identified?
Regions, as defined by convocation, will be used where practical. See map of convocations on the next page.

How will Regional Discernment Committee members be trained?
Training will be provided to those selected for a Regional Discernment committee, first at Camp Allen and later in locations within each region. Initially, training will be conducted based on requests from rector’s for their seekers. Those trained will be asked to be a part of the “pool” within a convocation.

What is the commitment of a Regional Discernment Committee member?
It is expected that trained Regional Discernment committee members will commit to participating in two to three discernment committees during a year. This is approximately 20 hours per discernment committee, or 60 hours over the course of a year (based on three committees). This, of course, will vary depending on the number of requests for discernment committees in a region.

Each discernment committee will meet with a seeker for a minimum of six sessions. The length of time needed may vary per schedules and the need for additional meetings.

How does the Head of Congregation pull together a Regional Discernment Committee for a seeker within his or her congregation?
Once there is a pool of trained discernment committee members, the list will be available on the Commission on Ministry website for clergy to access and contact potential members (much like the list of available Supply Clergy). Until a pool of trained committee members is established, the Head of Congregation should contact either the Rev. Francene Young or the Rev. Victoria Mason.

How is the new discernment process is different from the current one?

Former Process

Focused primarily of those who are discerning a call to ordained ministry as a deacon or priest.


Relies on the input of a local discernment committee in the canonical discernment process. A local discernment committee is typically comprised of members only from a seeker’s local congregation.

Current Process

Opened to those discerning a call to leadership in lay ministry and those discerning a call to ordained ministry. 

Enables lay leaders to discern a call to forming lay lead missional projects, programs and/or communities.

Establishes “regional” discernment committees comprised of members from surrounding Episcopal churches who are trained in the regional discernment process.

Two members of the Regional Discernment Committee will be selected from the seeker’s home congregation by the Head of Congregation.