Transition Ministries

We want to support all clergy exploring a call to our diocese. For more information about parish profiles, openings in our diocese, and to forward all requests or materials, please contact the Rev. Canon Allisyn Thomas, 619-481-5451.

How to Apply
Clergy from Outside the US
License to Officiate Guidelines
New Clergy Fresh Start
New Clergy Information Form

How to Apply

  • Send your resume and your updated OTM portfolio directly to the contact person. We prefer that you use email not hard copies. The deployment officer does not keep your resume on file or attempt to match you with positions.

  • Contact only those parishes receiving names. They have created a parish profile and a OTM community portfolio.  The parish and deployment office take considerable care in the preparation of those profiles, and accordingly expects you to study and to use them to discern whether or not you believe your strengths, experience and abilities are a good match for the parish.

  • Contact information is listed on the positions open list and on the OTM community portfolio. We give prayerful attention to the selection of our search chairs.  They are some of the most able, committed, dedicated and hard working lay leaders in the diocese.  They are your trustworthy contact about the history and dynamics of the parish as well as the progress of the search process.  If you are not getting timely and sensitive responses from them, please contact the deployment officer.

  • Once the parish search committee has reviewed your material, they may contact you for conversation or to gather more material from you.  Formal interviews and visits to the parish, however, are arranged only after the bishops have given their permission.

  • Scheduling an interview with the Canon for Deployment to introduce yourself or to inquire about positions in the diocese is not necessary and, frankly, of little value. Information about positions is all available on this website, from the search chair or in the parish profile.

  • The deployment officer  may contact you if a parish selects you as a candidate they would like to formally interview. If you are a finalist (one of the three candidates the search committee recommends to their vestry), we expect that you will make arrangements to meet with the deployment officer when you are interviewed by the vestry.



    • Inform the bishop in writing of your leaving and the date of your last service.
    • Notify the wardens in person and with the wardens notify the vestry of your decision to leave.
    • Canons require the vestry to give formal consent of your resignation.
    • The canons require the wardens to notify the bishop in writing that the parish is without a priest.
    • With the wardens, send a letter to the congregation announcing that you are ending your pastoral relationship and expressing your gratitude for your mutual ministry.
    • With the vestry, clarify the terms of unused leave or vacation time, plans for continuing contributions into the Church Pension Fund, and arrangements for insurance coverage.
    • Notify the Church Pension Fund, securing the proper forms, if you are retiring. The bishop’s signed approval is required for retirement.
    • Plan a ritual ending of your pastoral relationship within the context of worship.  Refer to the Book of Occasional Services for suggestions.
    • Plan an ending with parish organizations and staff.
    • Assist the wardens with writing a letter to the congregation that outlines your plan for leaving and assures them that they will have support and guidance from the diocesan staff through the transition.
    • Develop an agreement with the vestry and let the congregation know, in writing, that,
      • you value their friendship;
      • after you leave, you will no longer be able to function as their pastor or priest;
      • it no longer will be your role to officiate at their baptisms, weddings, and funerals;
      • you will come back only at the invitation of your successor; and then,
      • you will attend as their former pastor.
    • Notify local ecumenical groups or clergy associations that you are leaving and resign from positions you hold in community organizations.
    • Schedule an exit interview with the deployment officer and a mutual review of ministry with the vestry and parish leaders.
    • List all your current responsibilities, assigning a hand off date, and designating a specific person to take up that task.
    • With the wardens, review all leadership positions, clarify roles and responsibilities.
    • Update job descriptions for paid staff.
    • Meet privately with individuals with whom there may have been tension or conflict.
    • Be clear about any commitments (baptisms, weddings, funerals) you have scheduled for immediately after your leavetaking date.
    • Review with the wardens and vestry their leadership responsibilities for property, finance, and administration during the transition.
    • Identify those in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and home bound, noting who expects to be visited and with what regularity.
    • Note significant pastoral concerns such as premarital counseling, pregnancies, divorces in process, terminally ill, and the bereaved, remembering to maintain confidentiality of matters that are pastorally sensitive.
    • Note preplanned funeral arrangements and where the information is filed.
    • Prepare a calendar for the upcoming year, including Episcopal visitations, homecoming, patronal feasts, sunrise services, graduations, every member canvas, stewardship, and annual meeting.
    • Leave clear instructions about your congregation’s participation in community or ecumenical services, as well as their expectations about preaching and hosting future events.
    • Balance the discretionary fund and turn it over to the wardens.
    • List any special funds, their purpose, use and signatories, including scholarships and other financial commitments.
    • Prepare a file of audits, parochial reports, annual reports, copies of budgets for three years, and by laws.
    • Identify the location of the safe and who knows the combination.
    • Identify the location of the bank deposit box and who has keys.
    • Make sure parish lists and service registers are up to date.
    • Preserve historic documents.
    • Clean out personal files.  Keep what you need and carefully dispose of the rest.
    • Prepare a file of service leaflets for the past three years.
    • Prepare a file of lay reader certificates, lists of current altar guild members, ushers, acolytes, and servers with contact information (phone numbers and e-mail addresses).
    • Describe unique parish customs for the conduct of worship especially weddings and funerals.
    • Prepare a file of current agreements and contact information for all groups that use the buildings.
      Note the location of home communion set, chrism, last year’s palms, the nativity set, etc.
    • Take out the trash. Throw away clutter that accumulated for rummage sales in closets, storage areas, or garages.
    • Leave a notebook.  Not a ‘how to’ but a ‘where to.’  Where to get a decent haircut, find a dentist, order Chinese take out.
    • Create a contact list of parish leadership, including roles and e-mail addresses.
    • Turn in your keys, clearly tagged.
    • Establish a date certain for moving out of church provided housing and agree on conditions of repair and cleanliness.
    • Encourage and emphasize hospitality for welcoming new clergy and their loved ones.
    • Let people say good bye, thank you, and give you their blessing.
    • Assist wardens in making arrangements for temporary emergency pastoral coverage immediately following your leaving.
    • Don’t leave anything for the next priest.  If it needs to be done, do it.  Too many arriving clergy are sunk by things left undone.
    • Arrange for change of address and mail forwarding.
    • After your last day, do not return to the office to check for mail, e-mail, or phone messages.
    • In all cases, the responsibility belongs to clergy leaving to make clear that the pastoral relationship has ended.
    • Never be involved with the search process including giving names or offering opinions about candidates.
    • Avoid getting triangulated with members of the congregation and your successor.
    • Be clear that it is not appropriate for you to discuss any parish business after you leave.
    • Make plans to worship with another congregation.
    • In the absence of a rector or interim pastor, the wardens are canonically responsible for the worship, finance, property, and administration of the parish.
    • Remember, you have no official or canonical role in the parish you leave and your priestly, pastoral, and administrative functions end on the effective date of your retirement or resignation.

Clergy from Outside the US

Deployment of priests who are not United States citizens and who are not ordained in or canonically resident in the Episcopal Church in the United States of America is complicated. Significant issues need to be addressed: immigration status, canonical residence and licensing, knowledge of the polity, worship, authority, and Canons of the Episcopal Church, and the search process.

  • In order for a priest to work in the United States, he or she must have a religious worker’s visa.  They must have a position offered before they will receive the visa. R1 visas expire, are site specific and must be renewed. The application and renewal process for permanent residence takes time and is costly. Immigration and Naturalization Service requirements and processes have become more restrictive since September 11, 2001.  Contact the United States Department of State, the consulate or embassy for current and specific information about employment and visas.

  • Clergy should apply for a license to officiate only if they are offered a specific position in the diocese.  Clergy requesting application material without a call will be denied until they can present to the bishop’s office the need for the license to officiate. The granting of a license to officiate is a process distinct from granting canonical residence. A license for clergy who no longer reside in the diocese will expire at the end of the year and will not be renewed.

    Any priest who comes into the Episcopal Church of the United States of America from another church in the Anglican Communion must fulfill all the requirements of our national canons (Title III, Canon 10), including successful completion of the physical, psychological, and psychiatric evaluations. The cost of the psychological assessment alone is approximately $1,700 and is paid by the member of the clergy. There is no guarantee that an applicant will be given canonical residence. The final decision is made by the bishop of San Diego after reviewing the final reports.

  • Positions in the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego are not filled by placement or appointment.  They are filled by a process of discernment whereby candidates apply, interview, and compete with a field of other candidates.  In order to participate in that process, candidates are expected to submit a resume and an Office of Transition Ministry portfolio and be available to participate in a series of interviews in the parish. Members of parish search committees expect to visit candidates in their home parishes.  Often the cost of interviewing and moving of a priest from overseas is too prohibitive for many of our parishes.  No position is filled without the approval of the bishop of San Diego.

    We hope this information is useful to you as you consider the possibility of serving in the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego.

License to Officiate Guidelines

License application

Title III Canon 16, Sec. 2

Deacons or priests may be licensed to officiate in this diocese under the following conditions:

  1. Licenses will be issued to officiate either throughout the diocese or restricted to a specific church, area or institution at the discretion of the bishop.
  2. Licenses will be effective the first Sunday of Advent of the church year they are
    requested and will expire the Saturday before the first Sunday of Advent five years from that date.
  3. Licenses will be issued and renewed only after the receipt of a written request.
  4. A deacon or priest requesting to be licensed must attend a church within the diocese on a regular basis and have done so for at least one year.
  5. A deacon or priest requesting to be licensed must have an active ministry in a church
    within this Diocese or have a position in a secular institution which requires that he or she perform clerical functions as part of his or her employment.
  6. The clergy person in charge of the church or the person in charge of the secular institution must recommend in writing that the license be issued.
  7. A deacon or priest requesting to be licensed must have completed Safeguarding God’s People. The online course can be found on the Diocesan website. There is no fee for the course. Print the certificate when the training is complete and mail to the Bishop’s Office prior to the license being issued. (Seven modules to be taken: Meet Sam; It Happened to Me; Keeping Your Church Safe; Preventing Sexual Exploitation in Communities of Faith for Congregations; Preventing Sexual Exploitation in Communities of Faith for Ministries; Safeguarding God’s People: Preventing Sexual Harassment for Workers; Safeguarding God’s People: Preventing Sexual Harassment for Managers & Supervisors; plus reading of the Diocesan Policies which are posted on the website.)
  8. Clergy not currently licensed but wishing to be licensed must undergo a background
    investigation. We contract with Oxford Documents and the cost is $200. Fees must be paid prior to initiating the background check.
  9. Clergy requesting to be licensed in this diocese will need to meet with the bishop prior to the initial license being issued. Contact Reverend Gwynn Lynch, Canon to the Ordinary, to make the appointment, 619-481-5457.
  10. The bishop may waive any of the above requirements in special situations.

For more information, contact the Rev. Canon Allisyn Thomas, canon for transition ministries.

Fresh Start

Fresh Start is an opportunity for clergy in new positions, new to our diocese or newly ordained to reflect on questions and issues related to ministry transition. This program is strongly encouraged by our bishop.

Those who must attend are any clergy who are in new positions, new to our diocese or newly ordained in the past two years.

Please view our diocesan calendar to view the new dates for Fresh Start. We will be meeting on the third Thursday of every month, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. beginning on February 18, 2016.

For more information, contact the Rev. Canon Allisyn Thomas, 619-481-5451. You may also contact Keren Mondaca, 619-481-5455.