New Guidelines and Questionnaires Available; Attending Ordination Exploration Day Important First Step

"Discerning and answering a call from God to serve as a deacon or priest is a weighty matter. We in the Diocese of Pittsburgh take seriously our role in assisting people in the process," writes Bishop Kenneth Price to those considering ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church.

His letter introduces “Discerning and Responding to a Call to Holy Orders” a set of newly revised guidelines that outline in great detail six steps in the process for individuals, parishes, and the diocese.

A required first step for all potential candidates is to participate in an Ordination Exploration Day. The next one takes place Saturday, April 24, at Calvary Episcopal Church in Shadyside, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

“I encourage all of our clergy and lay leaders to familiarize themselves with these guidelines, and to look for members of their congregations who might have a call to ordained ministry,” said Bishop Price.

The new guidelines are the work of the diocesan Commission on Ministry and are available as a Word document by clicking here.

“Anyone interested in pursuing ordained ministry should attend Ordination Exploration Day, accompanied by his or her spouse or significant other, and also the person's rector or priest-in-charge,” said the Rev. Louis. B. Hays, who chairs the commission.

The day is designed to explore the unique characteristics between lay, diaconal, and priestly ministries, and to review the steps of the discernment processed as outlined in the new guidelines.

Any parish that has a Parish Discernment Committee should encourage the chair and committee members to attend in order to learn more about the new process.

Presenters on April 24 include Ms. Jessie Hipolit, speaking on lay ministry; the Ven. Jean Chess and the Rev. Ann Staples, two deacons in the diocese; and the Rev. Kristian Opat, who was ordained a priest just more than a year ago.

An overview of the process for discernment and ordination will be led by Bishop Price and members of the Commission on Ministry.

The day begins with registration and coffee and concludes after a luncheon with the bishop. There is no cost for attending, but advance registration is required by April 19.

Participants should RSVP with their names and parish to Judi Rogers at

Questions about the Ordination Exploration Day and discernment process may be addressed to the Rev. Lou Hays at or at 412-531-7153, ext. 11.

Commission on Ministry

"I am grateful to the Commission on Ministry for the hours of preparation they have given in compiling this manual, and for the ongoing support they offer to those seeking to discern a call. They are a dedicated group of ordained and lay people and they stand ready to assist you in your journey of exploration of the ordained ministry," Bishop Price writes in his introduction to the new guidelines.

The bishop announced three new commission members: Mr. Robert W. Goode, Church of the Redeemer, Squirrel Hill; Ms. Jacquelyn Och, St. Paul’s, Mt. Lebanon; and Dr. George A. Zitnay, St. Mark’s, Johnstown.

They join the Ven. Jean Chess, St. Andrew’s, Highland Park, and Archdeacon of the Diocese; the Rev. Louis Hays, St. Paul’s, Mt. Lebanon; Ms. Jessie Hipolit, Emmanuel Church, North Side; Mr. David Laughlin, St. Paul’s, Kittanning; the Rev. Kristian Opat, St. Paul’s, Mt. Lebanon; Mr. Charles Quillen, Calvary, Shadyside; the Rev. Canon Scott Quinn, Canon to the Ordinary and Rector, Church of the Nativity, Crafton; and the Rev. Ann Staples, Retired Deacon.

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