Pastoral Leadership Search Effort (PLSE)

Empowering discernment in youth and young adults

New Mentor Join PLSE!

Posted by plse on July 23, 2009

A new Mentor joined PLSE…

PLSE network is happy to welcome Mike Angel into our community of folks who listen and care for those are exploring ministry within the Church. Below is a short biography that reflects Mike ‘s journey and his sense of calling.
Mike has a passion for serving the lost, the least and those who are so often left out. His time in the Young Adult Service Corps in Honduras introduced him to a bigger world and a new understanding of God’s call for him in that world. Mike grew up in The Episcopal Church, but remained involved only on the periphery. In high school, he watched his mother go through the discernment process to become an Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Colorado. Watching her process stirred something inside of him, and made him begin to wonder about his own vocation.
Mike went to a Roman Catholic college (the University of San Diego). While making plans for after graduation, Mike saw his Roman Catholic friends signing up for service programs such as Jesuit Volunteer Corps and he started to wonder if there might be an Episcopalian equivalent. He stumbled across YASC, and applied right away. It was about this time that he was beginning to plug back into church, and was working as an intern at the local cathedral. For Mike, signing up for YASC was the first chance he had to really test and affirm his sense of call, and it helped to flesh out what that call really was. He understands his time in Honduras as an “opportunity to be formed and a to grab hold of the sense that God has a dream of what the world is about, and that God has a dream that we would all work to build that world.” YASC helped Mike right out of college to form a sense of what it means to faithfully respond to God’s call.
After Mike’s year in YASC, he was offered a position as a campus minister at the University of California at San Diego. His time there was deeply valuable and a wonderful experience for him as he began the discernment process for ordination. Today, Mike is a first year seminarian at the Virginia Theological Seminary and a Postulant in the Diocese of San Diego. As a young adult, he is aware that there is a certain attention that comes to him. People will often tell him that they are the only young adult in their church community. “There’s a weightiness and a responsibility to that that is important,” he says, “it influences how we have to engage.” He sees people in their twenties and to a lesser extent, their thirties as being in a place of flexibility in their lives, seeking to make decisions about career and how to live in the world. Mike wants to help people ask the big questions. “If the church can speak to those places… what would a career look like that was focused on doing something that I cared about and that made a difference in the world? The church has to be involved with helping people to make those decisions!”


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A great multicultural experience

Posted by plse on June 11, 2009

Yes it Fits!

Last week (June 1-4) a wonderful group of young people of color met at The University of the South, Sewanee TN to explore ministry in community while celebrating their cultures. 

The Does it Fit Conference, a collaborative effort between the Ethnic Ministries Offices and the Pastoral Leadership Search Effort-PLSE, was a rich experience.  It was rich not only as stated by the participants in their testimonies and evaluation forms but also for the Design Team and Seminary Staff who were delighted by the gifts, talents, personalities and passion of the group and the high sense of community and fellowship shared with one another.  

Does it Fit? was also an opportunity for celebration of a multicultural experience and community, where languages, dances and food were share.  From enjoying a Round and a Rabbit Native American dance to eating coconut and tamarind dessert from the Caribbean, from hearing about the beauty of Alaska, hearing a beautiful song in Spanish, to enjoying in laughter a wonderful funny sketch about black history prepared by the African American delegation. 

Among the 39 participants, 13 students expressed their desire to consider ordained ministry in the future.  Jasmine Bostock a college student of the Diocese of Hawaii, who resides in Washignton DC, commented “I came in to the conference with a clear acceptance and realization that God had called me to ordained ministry. I have never fought against the call, but, until the conference, had a lot of unanswered questions”. 

Indeed, Does it Fit? provided a safe and healthy space for exploring and asking all kind of questions about ministry.  

Others participants, like Amasi Kumeh from the Diocese of Newark expressed her interest of pursing missionary work like after graduate school.   

At the lunch hosted by PLSE for participants interested in ordained ministry, Diego Veizaga, 20 year old from Florida expressed his desire to go to law school and his passion about serving others.  Diego shared with the group how the ministry of his Rector encourages him to consider ordination, as second career in life.

What is next for us, the leaders who organized this event?  What is next is to support this kind of initiative, follow up, nurture, and guide Does it Fit? Participants to continue exploring and living their call to lay or ordained ministry and to usher them into the various ministries and networks of our Episcopal at large.

What is next? To continue nurturing and promoting ministry and diversity within the Church to continue embracing our mission as children of God and ambassadors of God’s Kingdom.

If you have questions about future, Does it Fit? events please contact any of the following staff person at the Episcopal Church Center:

The Rev. Angela Ifill (Black Ministries Office)

The Rev. Anthony Guillen (Hispanic Ministries Office)

The Rev. Winfred Vergara (Asian American Ministries Office)

Sarah Eagle Heart (Native America Ministries Office)

The Rev. Miguelina Espinal (Pastoral Leadership Search Effort-PLSE)

Let’s keep the beat! It does fit!



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My calling is to serve, by Andrea de la Torre

Posted by plse on June 11, 2009

My calling is to serve

Romans 12:1-2

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is true worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.


God has giving all of his children the gift to serve. Some may not know how to flourish this amazing gift. While some maintain the gift all to them selves and not allowing to illuminate the lives of others by sharing the love of God. While the children that do share the gift; are able to hear the calling louder every time. I can feel the calling to serve; running all through my blood. I have been blessed with a gift that keeps on giving. From my perspective, I don’t know if there is anything better then seeing someone elated.


Serving makes me joyful, alive and fortunate; as if it was an addiction that I have towards serving God. I’ve been blessed with this calling from a young age; with the privilege of being introduced to acolyte. Along the way it has guided me more towards God and strengthens my faith. As a former director of acolytes I was able to guide other children and youth. As a young adult in my former community of St. Francis I had been giving the opportunity to represent the Hispanic and youth ministry as a delegate in the annual vestry convention in the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida in October 2007. It had inspired me even more to guide and lead the less fortunate; minorities and youth to be heard and attended. Since we are all children of God; and all should be treated equally. In my future vocational goals I have planned, first if God allows me to become an ordained Reverent in the Anglican Church; my second home. One day, traveling around the world to third world countries to evangelize and help other children of God, be spiritually filled with faith, hope, and love.


God is good, why not let the world know how great God is. By sharing the love that God has giving us and allowing this magnificent gift blossom. Hoping that one day this world would become a better place, as God has it planned for us. Not allowing man to destroy the gifts that God has giving all his children. Where we will not restrain but express the love we have for each other. Tolerance, to allow everyone to be different; since we are all unique in the eye’s of God.

Andrea de la Torre is a  Member of the Student Leadership Team and a member of the Young Adult Festival 2009 Design Team

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Mentor…where that word comes from? Why is it important?

Posted by plse on March 16, 2009

The Greek storyteller Homer tells of Odysseus, the King of Ithaca.  In this tale, Odysseus asked his friend Mentor to watch over his son Telemachus while he fought in the Trojan War.    Mentor was a faithful friend of Odysseus who stayed in Ithaca and served as Telemachus’ tutor.  The story says that Mentor was wise, sober, and loyal.  On the other hand, Telemachus was just entering manhood.



This classic tale shows that mentoring is one of the oldest forms of influence.  Mentoring as a tool can be a powerful and popular way for people to achieve  personal, professional skills and to explore and articulate their goals and vision.


A mentor is a guide, a listener, someone who cares, someone who has been there, someone to help you to set your goal or strategize to accomplish them,  A mentor is not a savior, is not a therapist, is not a foster parent.


There are many perspectives on the definition of mentoring, especially since the concept of coaching has become so popular in the corporate world and even within the structure of some communities of faith.   Traditionally, mentoring refers to a person who conducts activities (training, discussions etc) for another person in order to help that person to do a job more effectively or to progress in a career or area of expertise.    A mentor is someone who usually “had been there, done that” . 


Today there is ongoing discussion at different levels about the definitions of mentors and the difference between coaching and mentoring.  Despite of all discussions that take place in the corporate or ecclesiastical world, reality is that we were created to live in community, to learn from one another, to care and take care of one another.  Mentors of today were mentee of yesterday, mentee of today will be mentors of tomorrow. 


In my experience, the role of a mentor is priceless.   In my personal life and discernment process,  it has been very helpful to me to connect with other ‘s people wisdom .   I am so blessed to have friends and clergy who cares and listen. Their mentonrship and support has made a difference in my life and ministry and it has encouraged me to make a difference in other people ‘s life.   


In a church context, mentors are not limited to those who guide and counsel people to help them discern wether or not they are called to ordained ministry, but also in many other areas of their lives , as people of faith who belongs to a larger family.   


Mentors can help you to explore and discern how your gifts and talents fits a particular ministry , can help you to seek a deeper relationship with God, and can also help you to deal with your concerns, doubts and fears.  Mentors are not meant to tell you what to do, but to be there for you, listening, caring and asking the right questions, for which you are encouraged to seek answers.  Other’s people wisdom and experience help us to see things from a different perspective.

It is a healthy practice to select someone or various individuals who we can trust and share our thoughts, doubts, concerns, joy, goals and expectations.   One is never too old for choosing a mentor. 


If you don’t have a mentor to walk with you in your spiritual journey, I strongly encourage you to do so.    The most important consideration when choosing a mentor is to look for someone you can respect, a person who live in harmony with their words and actions, someone who you could disscuss sensitive issues and trust that they will handle it with confidentiality, someone who knows how to listen and is not afraid to challenge you and who will inspire you to reach your full potential.


I am sure you have people around who fits the description above.  Look out for them! .  If you are willing to start a mentoring relationship using  the tools that modern theconology has to offer ( the web) I encourage you to look online and connect with PLSE Mentors.  PLSE Mentors are young adults and adults leaders of the Church who have experience working with young people, or who have experienced life and leadership in a variety of aspects. They are willing and open to listen, share their experiences, help you to explore your calling and purpose in life and most of all they care!  


PLSE Mentors can be reach via email only by clicking their name.  You may click 


And remember, sometimes you can not figure it our on your own!



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Does it Fit? A Vocational Conference for Young People of Color

Posted by plse on March 3, 2009

This event is an opportunity for young adults of color to engage in activities and conversations on vocational discerment while celebrating their cultures and enjoying fellowship.
June 1-4, 2009
The University of the South
735 University Avenue
Sewane, TN
For Registration :

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Where Do I Find My Calling? By Alejandra Trillos

Posted by plse on March 3, 2009

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Discerment…life is about choices.

Posted by plse on February 27, 2009

Life is about choices, discerning, listening and action


Choices is not a new thing, since the beginning of creation, human beings have faced the reality of making choices.  In the Old Testament we read lots of stories that show the reality we face when we find ourselves in front of more than one option:    Lot chose to go East and Abraham West toward Canaan. We all know the rest of the story… ,     Noah chose to listen God and built the Arc and by choosing that he saved his family and lots of creatures,  Peter, after denying Jesus, he chose not to stay depressed but to repent and became one of the most powerful disciples and defender of the Christian faith in the first century,


Nowadays our choices are simpler than those of the first Christians.  From the moment we wake up to the moment we go to bed we are making decisions, choosing among 2 or multiple things. Simple choices such as “how shall I do my hair today? What outfit should I wear for a special occasion? As simple as they sound, they are somewhat important to us. Isn’t that right?


There are other decision making process a bit more complicated, for instance, when it comes to choosing a mate, a career, a job change, a move, a home, a school, a friend, a vacation, how to spend or save money, or any other choice, big or little, whenever there are two or more different paths opening up before us and we have to choose, how do we know which one is best?


What happens “in between” is what we call Discernment.  Discernment is more than just a skill. Discernment is a gift from God before it is anything else. Yet there are clearly skills you put to use in using your gift, and you can become better at it through training and experience.


Discernment happens in a personal level as we examine ourselves and consider our options but it also happens in community.


Discerning in community is one of the richest thing we can experience as we are able to bring to the table different perspectives and learn from one another.   


When it comes particulary to discern about a calling to an specific ministry or service, it is important to consider what our gifts and talents are as well as to be open to the “outsider” voice to listen and allow opportunities for other people’s insight, the rector of your congregation, a friend, a member of your local church, someone you trust and is open to listen and walk with you in the process.  


The Episcopal Church as a community of faith offers lost of opportunities to service  through ministries at the local level , diocesan networks and wider level.  There are many ways in wich, as episcopalians we can make a difference in the lives of others and in the world  (explore internship opportunities at episcopachurch/


Even the smallest thing is significant when do it with love.

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Choosing a Seminary

Posted by plse on March 26, 2008

Sandy Webb is a seminarian at Virginia Theological Seminary and formerly staff at the Episcopal Church Center.

“When talking about seminary selection, I have discovered that many people had the same experience that I did. It’s what I have come to describe as a “spoon drop moment.” You do all of your research, you weigh all of your options, and you can’t decide. Then, one day, you’re eating your breakfast cereal, and you drop your spoon and say, “I have to go to ___.”

Each of the Episcopal seminaries is unique, and your overriding criterion should be which of them will be the best fit for you. This is an extremely important decision, but it is also important that we remember the role of divine providence in making this decision. God has a seminary in mind for each of us, and we need to make sure that we’re keeping our eyes, ears and hearts open to what God intends rather than what we personally desire.

When I was searching, I thought that I wanted the strongest possible academic environment. But, what I discovered in my discernment process is that I really needed a place whose primary focus was on formation in the context of Christian community. I needed to let go of my own understanding of what I needed as an intellectual and grab on to what God needed for my formation as a priest.

The balance between academic rigor and priestly formation is an ongoing conversation at all of our seminaries. In a recent Ember Day letter, my bishop suggested to me that he will be concerned when we think we have that question resolved. You may want to ask about this as you visit different seminaries. As young people, recently out of college, with thirty-five or forty years of ministry ahead of us, this question is particularly relevant. However, those circumstances also make it supremely important that we listen to what God wants for us rather than what we want for us.

In looking back on this whole process, in the midst of my second semester at Virginia Seminary, I can tell you with absolute honesty that I have never regretted my decision to follow God’s path rather than insisting on my own. Good luck, and godspeed!”

Sandy Webb

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Seminaries Under Stress

Posted by plse on March 17, 2008

An interesting article on Episcopal Seminaries.

Posted in Ordination, Seminary, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Choosing a Seminary

Posted by plse on March 10, 2008

By Peter Swarr
For me finding a Seminary was an eye-opening experience. Let me share some of that experience with you.
  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Seminary, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »