Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. As he spoke, he held out his hands for them to see, and he showed them his side. They were filled with joy when they saw their Lord! He spoke to them again and said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Then he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you refuse to forgive them, they are unforgiven.”

John 20:19-23 (NLT)


In the Anglican tradition we recognise three orders:

  • Deacons
  • Priests
  • Bishops

The process of entry into these orders is called ordination. All ordained people begin their lives as deacons, some become priests, and a small few bishops. Although each order has different responsibilities they are cumulative. That means that a priest is also a deacon, and that a bishop is also a deacon and a priest.


A deacon is called to a ministry of service, social justice, advocacy and Gospel proclamation. In the earliest church, candidates "full of the Spirit and of wisdom" (Acts 6:3) were invited to distribute food and care for the needs of the community. All those selected were gathered before the apostles "who prayed and laid their hands on them" (Acts 6:6). Ever since, deacons have been strongly associated with pastoral care, the distribution of consecrated bread and wine, and intercessory prayer. Deeply embedded in this ministry are issues of justice, mercy and social action.In New Zealand we recognise two types of deacon: permanent and transitional (a transitional deacon ultimately feels called to the sacramental ministry of the priesthood.).To learn more about a deacon's ministry see the Ordination Service, and especially page 891 (A New Zealand Prayer Book).To explore the theology and ministry of the diaconate in more detail please see these videos.

Learn more about our focus on deacons here.


A priest is a deacon called to sacramental ministry. The Ordinal (service that ordains) describes the priest's priorities as follows:"Above all they are to proclaim God’s wordand take their part in Christ’s prophetic work,to declare forgiveness through Jesus Christ,to baptise,to preside at the Eucharist,to administer Christ’s holy sacraments."(Extract from A New Zealand Prayer Book, page 901)To learn more about a priest's ministry see the Ordination Service, and especially page 901 (A New Zealand Prayer Book).


if you feel called to ordained ministry the first thing you need to do is talk to your vicar. The vicar (a priest that a bishop has given a parish to) will be able to talk to you about what it means to be ordained and they will help you begin to understand what your future ministry might be. Subsequent to these initial discussions you may be invited to make contact with the Director of Vocations. This may lead to a more formal process of discernment which looks something like this:

  1. Parish discerns a candidate
  2. Candidate meets with Vicar to explore vocation
  3. Candidate receives support from Vestry and Vicar in the form of a minute at a Vestry meeting
  4. Initial interview with Director of Vocations
  5. Completion of forms and written work
  6. Meeting with Examining Chaplains
  7. Psychological Assessment
  8. Discernment weekend
  9. Formation plan/strategy
  10. Readiness for ordination interview

...and that takes anything from 12 months to 10 years ...


Individuals invited into the formation process will have a programme tailored to their vocation. However, there are a number of shared elements including regular engagement in the Diocesan Formation Group


The Director of Vocations is responsible for helping people explore the call God is making on their lives. Even if you are discerned for ordained ministry you can expect to wait 18 or more months before ordination. This time is a critical part of the process.The Venerable Stephen Black is the current Director of Vocations, and the Reverend Paul Weeding is the Vocations Officer. For more information and to start talking please email Stephen or Paul.