The General Ordination Examination

Since 1972 the Episcopal Church has required that before ordination a candidate must be examined and show proficiency in (1) The Holy Scriptures; (2) Church History, including the Ecumenical Movement; (3) Christian Theology; (4) Christian Ethics and Moral Theology; (5) Studies in Contemporary Society, including Racial and Minority Groups; (6) Liturgics and Church Music; and (7) Theory and Practice of Ministry.

The General Board of Examining Chaplains administered the first General Ordination Examination (GOE) in 1972 and has given it annually since.

Before 1972, each diocese had its own process of examination, and testing varied widely from place to place. While people are ordained in their particular dioceses, they are ordained on behalf of, and for service throughout, the whole church.

The GOE is the same for all candidates. Evaluators do not know candidates’ identities and have no connection with their Commissions on Ministry, their seminaries or their bishops. The General Board of Examining Chaplains and its staff, as well as diocesan officials, carefully review evaluations, so candidates have the benefit of a series of independent evaluations.

The GOE is given each year in the first full week of January.

© 2012 Church Divinity School of the Pacific