Terms and Abbreviations


Nominee:  One who has been nominated by a faith community and has applied to the ordination process but who has not yet been accepted as a Postulant to either the Diaconate or the Presbyterate.

Aspirant:  one who aspires to ordained ministry but is not yet in the ordination process as a Nominee.

Candidate:  one who has completed generally 18 months as a Postulant and is at least halfway through seminary and meets other canonical and diocesan requirements.

Field Education:  often referred to as Field Ed or Field Work, this is a seminary course which includes time spent weekly in a congregation other than one’s sponsoring congregation. 

Formation Retreat: A Friday evening/Saturday opportunity (held twice a year in April and November) for Commission and Standing Committee members to meet and interview Nominees to recommend Postulancy.

Lay Discernment Committee: a group of lay people in an aspirant’s congregation or in a Ministry Study Year congregation who help the aspirant in the discernment process.

Mentoring Rector/Vicar: the Rector or Vicar at Nominee/Postulant’s Ministry Study Year congregation, who provides guidance throughout the year.

Postulant:   one who has been accepted into the ordination process and has met certain canonical and diocesan requirements.

Shepherd:  a member of the Commission on Ministry who is responsible for establishing and maintaining contact with a person in the Ministry Study Year program or in the ordination process.  See “The Commission’s Part in the Ordination Process.”

Sponsoring Rector/Vicar: the Rector or Vicar at a Nominee’s sponsoring (“home”) congregation, who, with the Vestry or Bishop’s Committee, agrees to sponsor the aspirant for ordination.


CDSP:  The Church Divinity School of the Pacific, the Episcopal seminary in Berkeley, California. 

COM:  Commission on Ministry.

CPE:  Clinical Pastoral Education, usually done during seminary at a hospital or similar setting.  Required of all persons in the ordination process and must be done before Candidacy consideration.

CST: The Claremont School of Theology, with which Bloy House (ETSC) is affiliated.

EDS:  The Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

ETSC:  The Episcopal Theological School at Claremont (also known as Bloy House). It is a part of the Claremont School of Theology, which is the institution which grants the M. Div. degree.

ETSS:  The Episcopal Theological School of the Southwest in Austin, Texas.

GOE: General Ordination Examinations - Normally taken in January of a Candidate's last year in seminary, these are written exams on subject matter prescribed by Canon III.7 (Holy Scriptures; Church History, including the Ecumenical Movement; Christian Theology; Ethics and Moral Theology; Studies in Contemporary Society, including racial and minority groups; Liturgies and Church Music; and Theory and Practice of Ministry). In this Diocese, the GOE is used as a diagnostic guide, not an absolute determination of whether or not one will be ordained. 

GTS: The General Theological Seminary in New York City.

LDC:  Lay Discernment Committee: a group of lay people in an aspirant’s congregation or in a Ministry Study Year congregation who help the aspirant in the discernment process.

MSY:  Ministry Study Year. A year of work and discernment in a congregation not one's own to help an Nominee/Postulant test and discern the nature of the call to ministry. During the year, the student works 6 - 8 hours a week under the direction of a mentor priest.

VTS:  Virginia Theological School.