National Discernment Adviser

This job has now expired
Flexible working including remote working, attendance at residential selection panels and some work in London.
£ 51,549 per annum

Our aim is for everyone in the National Church Institutions (NCIs) to feel that they belong and are valued for who they are and what they contribute. Together, our people contribute in different ways towards our common purpose, whichever NCI they work in and whatever their background.

The National Ministry Development Team is one of the Teams of the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England. It serves the dioceses and the bishops by providing advice and consultancy on ministry, overseeing a national process of discernment for candidates and quality assurance of their training and supporting dioceses in their strategic planning for ministry. Its vision is for transforming ministry for mission and growth in line with our Vision and Strategy and its values are based in working collaboratively to offer a constructive, professional and expert service to the dioceses.

We are looking for an innovative and inspiring National Discernment Adviser to join our team and taking responsibility for all aspects of the national discernment process for ordained ministry, including overseeing Stage 1 and Stage 2 Panels in the new Shared Discernment Process.

As National Discernment Adviser, you will be part of a team of Advisers who facilitate, moderate and act as the Panel Secretary in the new Shared Discernment Process. Occasionally you may be asked to step in as an Assessor to cover absence for a Bishops’ Adviser.

In Autumn 2021 we started the new Shared Discernment Process, and you will be working to continue to implement this, developing resources of expertise and best practice, and overseeing the new processes. You will also play a key role in ensuring the effective operation of the Candidates Panel.

You will be bringing your knowledge of ministry and vocational discernment to the role, you will demonstrate resilience and self-awareness, managing change and complex relationships effectively.

As part of this you will give professional advice on discernment issues to Dioceses and offer training and development to Diocesan Directors of Ordinands and Bishops' Advisers for Discernment, ensuring consistent practice in discernment and the adoption of new Qualities and standards.

To arrange an informal discussion about the role, please contact Carys Walsh on and Joy Gilliver on Informal discussions are possible until Friday 23rd December.

Closing date for applications will be on Monday 2nd January 2023.

Interviews will be held on Monday 16thJanuary 2023.

We would be willing to consider half time appointments, so the role is shared between two people.

We offer a unique environment with opportunities for continuous learning, generous annual leave for work life balance, season ticket loans and a range of benefits including discounted entry to attractions and what we feel is a market leading package when it comes to our pension scheme.

The Role

To be the Panel Secretary to the Stage 1 (run primarily online) and Stage 2 (3-4 day residential) Panels in the new national Shared Discernment Process each year. Panels advise Bishops about the suitability of candidates for ordained ministry in the Church of England. This will include working with Discernment Support colleagues in completing pre-panel paperwork checks; you will advise, coach and support Bishops’ Advisers (assessors at Panels), in their discernment of candidates and decision-making; you will attend and oversee Panels for which you are responsible, co-ordinating and leading them efficiently. This will include leading worship and giving an address in worship. You will edit and prepare reports on candidates for Bishops and meet with Bishops and DDOs to give feedback, you will ensure that post-Panel records and paperwork are completed and kept safely. With an in-depth understanding of the new Qualities for Discernment, you will ensure that Panels work consistently with the Qualities.

To oversee cases at the Candidates Panel: You will be part of the team which ensures the effective operation of the Candidates Panel which is responsible for advising Bishops concerning candidates who, for example, seek a new focus for their ministry. You will oversee cases at each of five annual Panels. You will ensure that the Candidates Panel works consistently with the new Qualities for Discernment and, where appropriate, with the former Selection criteria.

To work to implement the new Shared Discernment Process. This change management process was introduced in Autumn 2021 and is still being embedded. The new processes require National Advisers to work in new flexible ways, including working online.

To be part of the team of National Advisers who work collaboratively to give expert advice and consultancy to Dioceses in discernment issues and to be involved in building strategic capacity amongst the DDOs so that they can sustain the growth in vocations.

To play a part in developing and delivering a training curriculum for DDOs that will ensure good practice in discernment.

To work with Sponsoring Bishops in the selection, appointment, initial and ongoing training and development of Bishops’ Advisers for Discernment especially as their role as assessors evolves in the new Shared Discernment Process.

To work with the Discernment Support Team in the implementation of new administrative processes and IT systems to support the wider vocations and discernment work.

The Requirements


  • Understanding and experience of ministry in the Church of England.
  • Relevant experience of working with individuals in vocational discernment through mentoring and interviewing.
  • Demonstrable knowledge of relevant selection good practice.


  • Well organised and attentive to detail.
  • Skilled in developing partnerships and working in teams with an awareness of group dynamics.
  • Able to handle and work with the implementation of change.
  • Robustness and self-awareness that is able to handle difference, conflict and manage complex relationships.
  • Capacity to mentor Bishops' Advisers in their role and moderate their work to ensure high quality judgements against evidence.
  • Willingness and flexibility to manage work that requires considerable travel and absence from home.
  • Excellent communication skills including oral public speaking and presentation skills.
  • Excellent skills in written communication capable of producing nuanced, sensitive and well-edited reports on a candidate for the Bishop.
  • Good IT skills including proficiency in use of Microsoft Office – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams as well as capacity to work flexibly on Zoom. Ability to use the online Portal and Database being developed for our processes.

Personal Attributes:

  • Because of the nature of the duties of this post, the post is subject to a genuine occupational requirement that the postholder will be a communicant member of the Church of England or of a church in communion with the Church of England.
  • The post holder will represent the Church of England and participate in worship and is responsible for advising on the selection of those with a vocation to ordained ministry. A well-developed spiritual life is necessary to resource this work.


  • The candidate will need to have a broad and secure understanding of Christian theology and praxis - this may be evidenced by a relevant degree or equivalent range of experience.


  • Able to travel within England and attend residential panels and training events away from home and away from London.



  • Experience of enabling and delivering Adult education and training.
  • Selection process experience.

In the National Church Institutions (NCIs), we support the mission and ministries of the Church of England. We work with parishes, dioceses, schools, chaplaincies and other ministries, and with national and international partners including mission agencies, and other denominations and faith groups.-.

Find out more about working for the National Church Institutions at Careers | The Church of England

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  • We strive for excellence
  • We collaborate
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We welcome everyone and we accept and value people for who they are and what they contribute, treating others in the way we would wish to be treated ourselves. We actively listen to and include others, encouraging and enabling everyone’s voice to be heard in discussions and decisions. When we disagree, we aim to disagree well with respect and kindness.

We want to encourage applications from a diverse group of people. Even if you have never thought about working for us before, if you have the skills and experience we’re looking for then we would like to hear from you. If there is anything we can do to support you in your application please get in touch via email to

  • As a Disability Confident Leader, we actively look to attract, recruit and retain those of you who are disabled.
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