DISCERNMENT AND APPLICATION

1.  Is God Calling You?

This phase includes initial contact between the applicant, the deaconess community, and the LDA.  You are ready to commit to discerning your call to ministry and community, to an assessment of your attitudes, skills and knowledge, and to identifying the LDA and deaconess community’s resources to work with you.  This phase may take as long as one year.

1.    Initial inquiry.  Contact the Director of Education/Formation. Consider a time frame for your admission process, and establish an application folder as the LDA collects your admission portfolio (#5).  Ask for a flowchart to help coordinate forms. 

2.    Discernment process.  Use the discernment guide to help you reflect and pray about your direction. 

3.    Deaconess sponsor.  Ask a deaconess you know to serve as your sponsor during the discernment and application phase. The LDA can give you possible contacts.

4.    Meet several deaconesses.  Your sponsor can help you meet other deaconesses.  Your application will ask about the deaconesses you have met.

5.    Portfolio of admission: Ask the Director of Education/Formation to begin an application folder for you, and you may submit your materials at the above address.  We prefer that applications be sent from your e-mail, which may serve as validation of your signature. 
A.    Application:
  • personal data
  • reflection essays
  • self-care history
B.    Vocational and Psychological assessment. (At your expense, you will arrange to take a specific battery of tests with a licensed psychologist, who will send a report directly to the LDA. Start early!  This step can take several weeks.  Contact LDA for more information about tests and possible providers.)

C.    References: (References should be sent directly to the LDA at the address above.)
  • Congregation in which you are a member.
  • Pastor of the congregation in which you are a member.  (If your pastor is  also a member of your family, add an additional reference from someone in public ministry.)
  • Two people who know you well. (Consider getting a reference from someone who knows about your academic ability, your work experience, or your volunteer activities.  No family members, please.)
  • Deaconess sponsor.
D.  Application fee.  Application fee of $25 due at time of application.  Checks may be made to “LDA,” and mailed to address above.

6.    Review of admission portfolio.  An LDA committee will review the submitted materials to consider the applicant’s readiness for an interview. 

7.    Admission interview.  Upon recommendation by the admission committee, the LDA staff will contact the applicant to arrange an interview, at the applicant’s expense.  Interviews are typically held at the Center for Diaconal Ministries. Applicants will be notified with the results of the interview within two weeks.

8.    Acceptance.  Applicants who are accepted are expected to attend a week-long seminar and the regular annual meeting of the Lutheran Deaconess Conference each year during their education and formation.  New students enter the process either in the winter or the late summer.  See orientation, for specific dates.