It's General Ordination Examination (GOE) time. The General Board of Examining Chaplains (GBEC) creates, administers and evaluates the General Ordination Examination for people seeking to be ordained in The Episcopal Church.The 1970 General Convention of The Episcopal Church canonically established the GBEC to standardize the process of examination for ordination (III.15). The GBEC administered the first GOE in 1972 and has given it annually since. Prior to that, candidates were subject to diocesan examination processes, which varied widely across the church. The GOE is the same for all candidates and is both created and evaluated by a group that has no connection to the candidates' Commissions on Ministry, their seminaries, or their bishops.
The canons (III.8) require that before ordination a Candidate must be examined and show proficiency in (1) The Holy Scriptures; (2) History of the Christian Church; (3) Christian Theology; (4) Christian Ethics and Moral Theology; (5) Christian Worship according to the use of the Book of Common Prayer, the Hymnal, and authorized supplemental texts; and (6) The Practice of Ministry in contemporary society. These are known as the six canonical areas. Accordingly, candidates complete six General Ordination Examinations, one in each area.
Naturally, there is some anxiety that comes with processes of examination. Be gentle with one another and with yourselves. Please know that these exams are not meant to trip you up, but to give you an opportunity to demonstrate applied knowledge of the material and contextual sensitivity. Just show what you know and rest assured that we are praying for you and rooting you on.
The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D. Dean and President