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Notes from the Deacon for Pentecost

As many of you may be aware, my activities as a Deacon extend to the wider church. Recently I accepted an appointment to the Division of Outreach for the Diocese and attended my first meeting in March of this year. I also attend regular meetings and workshops of the College of Deacons. I shall attempt to tell you more about these activities in future instalments.

One of the most rewarding and exciting activities, over the past several years, has been my participation in ACPO – Advisory Committee on Postulants for Ordination. This spring, from April 23 to April 26, I completed my 6th weekend in this process.

It is an exciting and inspiring process and I want to take this opportunity to share some of my impressions and experiences.

ACPO was established in 1969 by the Anglican Church of Canada as part of the process for examining candidates for ordination to the priesthood. It is an advisory body to the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada. There is a national committee consisting of a Bishop (Bishop Michael Bird is just assuming this responsibility), provincial secretaries from each ecclesiastical province (there are 5 – ours is Ontario) and a member at large. The provincial secretary is a priest responsible for seeing that each province has a functioning ACPO process. The Bishops in each province suggest lay and clergy assessors to the provincial secretary to form provincial committees to do the assessments. In Ontario, we usually have 2 per year and lately they have been held at the Convent of the Sisters of Saint John the Divine (an Anglican order of nuns in Toronto) from Thursday noon until Sunday at noon.

There are four areas of discernment for each candidate: their parish, theological training, the diocese and ACPO. The ACPO committee or team, is asked to evaluate the candidate in 4 areas. They include:

1) areas of spirituality and church life We are asked to assess candidates in their call to priestly ministry, character and gifts.

  • 2)

    screening candidates around issues of power, trust and sexual misconduct

  • 3)

    identifying areas in which candidates need to grow

  • 4)

    offering advice regarding the pursuit of other forms of ministry.

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