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A Summons, Not a Call
1 Samuel 3: 1- 4: 1a

One of my friends is going through the “discernment process” whereby the Episcopal Church seeks to decide whether she is called to ordained ministry. It involves meetings with a group of people from your local church, with diocesan officials, and with the bishop. Initially, the priest in your own parish is the gatekeeper of the process; if you don’t have his or her support, you won’t be able to start. At the other end of the process, you may be required to attend a candidacy conference, and in the end, it is the bishop who ordains you who has the final yes or no. In Britain we have a process that works very differently but with the same aim. In both contexts, I have had friends who have gone through the process and been convinced that their priest, or their bishop, or some other people were like Eli. God was calling Samuel, but it took Eli three attempts to recognize that this was going on...

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