We have a piece of good news that I need to share with you. Michael Looney, our Seminarian Associate has been with us at Christ Church since last fall. Mick had barely started his seminary education at General Theological Seminary. Christ Church was meant to provide Mike with a scared space where he can learn the rudiments of ministry and pastoral leadership. For those of us who may not know, it takes quite a lot to get to be a priest in the Episcopal Church.
Michael was not a postulant when he arrived at Christ Church. But over the past several months, I have watch Michael grow and assume pastoral leadership and responsibility. I cannot thank him enough for all the gifts that he offers to Christ Church. Mike had his interview with the Commission of Ministry (CoM) this past Saturday. It was an anxious time for him because his call to the priesthood was dependent on the approval of CoM. Thankfully, the CoM approved him for the next stage of his discernment.
We share this joy with him because you all have made it possible for him to live out his love for God in this community of faith. Much as I thank him for being here, I also want to thank you, the people of Christ Church for your openness and graciousness.
I asked Mike to share with you what this process means to him. Please find his words below.
Hello CEC Family,
This past week I received the honor of becoming a postulant for holy orders of priesthood within the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland. As a postulant, I am focused on pre-novitiate discernment and preparation. If all goes to plan, I will remain a postulant while I complete the Master of Divinity program at The General Theological Seminary. I am in my first year of a four-year degree program at GTS.
Per the diocesan website:
The time involves meeting with the bishop of the diocese, examination by the Commission on Ministry, along with physical and mental examinations, and in some cases attending discernment conferences or weekends. Postulancy is an initial time of preparation and testing for ordained ministry. Candidacy is the next stage in the ordination process.
Candidacy follows postulancy and precedes ordination. The time of candidacy is to be at least one year, although this may be shortened to not less than six months. During this time the candidate is to complete or satisfy the canonical requirements for ordination, including requirements concerning age, education, academic examination, practical training or experience in ministry, and medical and psychological examinations.
Becoming a postulant is extremely meaningful to me, as it means the diocese recognizes my call to the priesthood, and I have their full support. My journey started formally in 2020 with my home parish of St. Andrew’s, Glenwood, where I received their endorsement to proceed with discernment. In 2021, I completed two six-month programs with the diocese including ‘Exploring Baptismal Ministry’ and ‘Discerning Our Vocation’. It has been an amazing journey so far, where I have made many new friends, gained new mentors, and experienced multiple aspects of ministry.
As a student at GTS, I am expected to complete two two-year placements, which is how I landed at this amazing parish of Christ Episcopal Church. I thank each of you for your warm welcome and ongoing support! I look forward to being with you through the spring of 2024. Know that I love talking about my journey and GTS, so feel free to ask me about it anytime.