Discernment Guide

A Short Guide to Surviving ‘The Discernment Process’ in the Church of England

by Jules Middleton



Some time ago I had one of those ‘why doesn’t someone do that’ thoughts. You know the ones where you see something that needs to be done and rather hope that someone might actually do it? Well with this one I felt a gentle prod from God to just do it myself.

Having gone through the ‘discernment’ or ‘selection process’ in the Church of England, discerning a call to ordained ministry, at times I found myself rather bewildered at what would happen next. As I progressed through, was recommended, and subsequently began training I found I was not alone in this. Despite being an enriching and worthwhile process, many people I spoke to had been totally unprepared for what the process would actually mean for them. Of course some of us were given a list or even a timeline if lucky, but most were left completely unprepared for the way it would affect us and those around us. At times emotional, occasionally draining, sometimes just all too much, I wanted to help people entering the process to feel a bit more prepared for it. So, this guide was begun. I’ve spoken to many others who’ve gone through it, sent out questionnaires, tweets and Facebook requests, and so this guide is the work of many, to whom I am very grateful. Together it is a guide, but also a personal reflection, hopefully giving you a taste of what the process could be like for you. I say right throughout this guide that the situation will vary from diocese to diocese and I can’t stress this enough, but I hope that it will also offer a framework of how the process generally works too.

discernment-process_ Dave walker

Love this Dave Walker cartoon, just a little too close to the bone!

It has taken some time to put this together, around work, family and study so I am publishing it simply here via my blog, which hopefully will enable it to reach more people (so do send the link to those who you know in the process!).

Of course any mistakes are my own and I would be more than grateful if you pointed them out so I can rectify them!

Jules Middleton, July 2015

Also now available to download here as a PDF:  Discernment Guide PDF – Feb 16


This page is effectively the contents page, so all chapters are listed below rather than putting them all in one ridiculously huge long post…


1. Introduction

2. What is ‘Discernment’ All About?

3. Getting Started

4. It’s All About You

5. Jumping Through Hoops

6. Going to BAP

7. What Next?

8. Appendix & Resources
© Copyright Jules Middleton, 2016

6 thoughts on “Discernment Guide

  1. Bryony says:

    Can I just say how helpful I found this – and how much I enjoyed reading it. Thank you for writing this and for sharing it.

  2. Roxanne says:

    Hi Jules, I just found this today, I’m in the Scottish Episcopal Church and about to go to a Provincial Panel who will discern if I am to go to a BAP. The guide is so, so helpful and made me chuckle a few times! Thank you so much for your generosity in taking the time to write it – it has been really helpful! :-)

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