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Guidelines and Requirements for Pastoral Leader (Canon 4.3)

Under the direction of the Bishop, a Pastoral Leader is a lay person authorized to exercise pastoral and administrative responsibility in a congregation under special circumstances.


  • A personal sense of ministry.  A person of prayer who seeks to develop their own spirituality.
  • A mentor is required for the first year after licensure.  The lay licensing committee can assist you find a mentor.
  • Ability to analyze, prioritize, plan and pay attention to detail.
  • Takes initiative in working both independently and with a group.
  • Ability to complete tasks in a timely manner.
  • Understands necessity of confidentiality.
  • Good communication skills.
    • Listens well.
    • Seeks and listens for significant thoughts, ideas, and feelings of the person or group.
    • Articulates thoughts and ideas in a manner that is comforting, clear, and concise.


  • Ability to effectively work in ministry teams
  • Ability to facilitate and/or coordinate services to parishioners in the following circumstances:
    • counsel, comfort, and pray with persons afflicted with illnesses of all kinds and can offer the same to family and friends of the ill person.
    • aid and comfort families and individuals in issues of death and dying.
    • counsel and comfort families and individual in typical pastoral care issues including, but not limited to:
      • Life transitions
      • Children and parenting
      • Care of aging parents
      • Human relationships or their lack (loneliness)
      • Economic hardship
      • Alcoholism and substance abuse
      • Hospitalizations and other medical situations.
  • Can make referral to professional caregiver when appropriate.
  • Can prepare financial reports and maintain financial records in collaboration with the Parish and Diocesan Treasurers
  • Can prepare the annual Parochial Report
  • Can properly maintain:
    • the Service Register
    • membership records and execute letters of transfer
    • the Parish Register

Background Knowledge

  • A basic understanding of Holy Scripture (Old and New Testaments), church history, The Book of Common Prayer, ethics and theology (at the level of catechism and creeds).
  • A college level understanding of psychology and family systems theory.
  • Basic principles of spiritual development and spiritual direction.
  • Familiarization with the Church’s Manual of Business Methods.
  • A general knowledge of the Canons, polity, structure and decision-making process of the Episcopal Church.
  • Specific knowledge of The Canons of The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of West Missouri that relate to parish administration.
  • A general knowledge of bookkeeping and insurance.

Education and Training Resources

  • Pastoral Leader Certificate Program, Bishop Kemper School of Ministry (Preferred)
  • Any educational training available through the Diocese including, but not limited to:
    • Leadership Essential presentations. This is a series of educational offerings from the Bishop’s Staff.
  • 1 unit from a Continuing Pastoral Education Program (CPE).
  • The Center for Anglican Learning and Leadership (CALL), particularly the “A Pastoral Care Series” of online courses.
  • Courses from accredited seminaries, local or through distance learning.
  • Education For Ministry (EFM).

To Be Licensed

  • Recommendation of Rector/Priest-in-Charge/ and Vestry/Bishop’s Committee
  • Recommendation of the Finance Director/Diocesan Treasurer
  • Personal visit with the Bishop
  • Criminal background check.  Contact the Human Resource Administrator and Finance Assistant for information.
  • Completion of Anti-Racism and Diversity Training Course.  Contact Shirley Bolden at for information.
  • At the time of licensure, the lay licensing committee will work with the licensee to find a mentor that can provide them with support and guidance as they begin this ministry.
  • Safe Church, Safe Community training modules are required. Contact the Human Resource Administrator and Finance Assistant for information.


  • An Introduction to Pastoral Care. Charles Gerkin, Abingdon Press, 1997.
  • Crisis Counseling. Howard W. Stone, Augsburg Fortress Publishers, Revised Edition 1993.
  • All Our Losses, All Our Griefs: Resources for Pastoral Care. Kenneth Mitchell and Herbert Anderson, Westminster John Knox Press, 1983.
  • How Will They Hear Us If We Don’t Listen. Ronald Johnson, Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1994.
  • Creative Ministry.  Henri J.M. Nouwen, Doubleday, 1991.
  • Caring for God’s People. Philip Culbertson, Fortress Press, 2000.
  • Teaching …Sermons on Suffering. Barbara Brown Taylor, Abingdon Press, 1989.
  • Generation to Generation. Edwin H. Friedman. The Guilford Press, 1985.
  • Manual of Business Methods in Church Affairs. Episcopal Parish Services. 2001.
  • How Your Church Family Works: Understanding Congregations as Emotional Systems. Peter Steinke. Alban Institute, Inc. 2006
  • The Diocese of West Missouri Mentoring Guidelines.


11-28-2022. Original version posted.

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