Norms of our Community

We pray that men will hear God’s call to test their vocation with our community. We also pray for the gift of discernment to know who should be encouraged and invited to accept this test, and who should be directed elsewhere. What follows is a listing of some norms which are general guidelines for Inquirers.

Age Aspirants are normally between 22 and 45 years of age.

Denominational Ties We are an Anglican religious order whose life of prayer and worship is ordered by The Book of Common Prayer and by the doctrine and discipline of The Episcopal Church (USA) and the Anglican Church of Canada.

Academic Preparation Most men enter the community with at least an undergraduate education. The formation during the novitiate begins an on-going program of directed study intended to equip the new brother for life and ministry in the Society.

Financial Obligations If an Aspirant is indebted because of academic loans for higher education, SSJE may be able to assume his monthly payments for as long as he remains a member of the SSJE community. An Aspirant must otherwise be debt-free.

Ordination Some men are already ordained when they enter SSJE as a Postulant. Others may eventually have a sense of call to Holy Orders. The community joins together in discerning this call, a formal process that could not begin until a brother makes his Profession in Life Vows.

Recovery from Addiction If the Aspirant is an addict, we expect that he will give evidence of sustained sobriety for at least the previous two years and that he be actively engaged in a 12-Step program.

Sexual Orientation We expect an Aspirant to be on the path toward a mature self-understanding and sexual integration – whatever his sexual orientation – and to demonstrate a sense of call that includes the gift to freely embrace the celibate life.

Previous Marriage or Committed Relationship For a man who is widowed or divorced, or whose committed relationship has ended, a sufficient period of time for grieving and healing needs to transpire before a discernment process with SSJE can begin. We expect an Aspirant to have already had a sustained period experiencing freedom and fulfillment in living the celibate life prior to exploring a vocation with us.

Skills and Personal Qualities Certain qualities and skills are essential for a man to be able to join and thrive in our community. Though we do not expect to see all of the following qualities and skills fully developed in those aspiring to our life (nor, for that matter, in the present membership of the community), we do look at least for the capacity for these to develop.

Spiritual Maturity A personal faith in Jesus Christ; a devotion to Holy Scripture; a sense that he is truly seeking God in community, i.e., he sees community life as a channel of grace and conversion; a sense of God’s presence in the movement of his life; a desire to pray both in community and alone with God; a valuing of the sacramental character of Anglicanism; a responsiveness to the demands of the Gospel for social justice; an acknowledgment of the diversity of beliefs and practices within the Church and world.

Skills for Living in Community Evidence that he knows and accepts himself, his strengths and limitations; the ability to live in solitude and silence; the evidence of continuity in personal relationships; an ease in relating to both men and women; an ability to accept community life as it is without immediately wanting to reform it; an ability to wait and persevere in the face of ambiguity and trials; evidence that he is in touch with his emotional life and willing and able to develop skills for compassion, intimacy, trust, and vulnerability.

Skills to Join in Our Work The evidence of a stable work history; an interest to study and an ability to learn; an interest and openness to theological questions; an ability to listen to others and to accept both praise and correction; an ability to work cooperatively and interdependently with others; a zeal to offer ministry to others; physical and emotional health; a willingness to do humble tasks; an inclination and availability to accept new challenges; a readiness to enjoy rest and recreation.