"It is hard to find an example of renewal anywhere in God's Church since the end of the Roman Empire that has not been preceded and accompanied by a renewal of prayer, usually within flourishing Religious communities."

The Most Rev'd Justin Welby
Archbishop of Canterbury
Foreword to: Anglican Religious Life 2016-17

Discerning a Vocation

Each person's vocation is unique - and so is the discernment of that vocation. "It often begins with the heart, a desire, an inner nudge and growing attraction and longing to respond to God’s love. A growing desire for prayer and service within the context of a life lived with others, a seeking after the deep adventure of prayer and commitment." (http://arlife.org.uk

Listen to your heart, read scripture, seek advice from experienced and trustworthy people. There are links on this site to websites with more information. Read and reflect. Pray. Take time out in silence. Are you being called to explore joining a religious community? 

Stages of the Journey

If you want to join one of the communities with traditional vows (those which ACARLA calls "recognised communities") you'll need to be in sound health, both physically and psychologically, single with no dependent children and an Anglican. Some Communities have upper age limits.

If you feel called to one of the other forms of Christian community life they will have their own particular requirements. Some include single and married members, some include membership of people in different churches. 

The process begins with contacting a community and arranging a visit.

If you still feel called, and if they see the possibility of you joining and testing your vocation, then they will arrange the formal application process. For the "recognised communities" this usually progresses through being an aspirant (a formally accepted enquirer), to a postulant (living with the community as part of the vocational discernment), to being a novice (a focussed time of training and formation), to first or temporary profession of vows, and finally to life profession of vows.  

Each community is different and has different routes available. For instance some have the possibility of living with them as an alongsider for a longer period of vocational discernment.  


Most Anglican Communities also have a form of associate or similar membership for men and women from all walks of life who wish to join their life with the purposes of the Community in some way. These are also known as Tertiaries, Oblates, or perhaps Companions. They follow a simple rule to help them live the Christian life and be linked with the values and character of the Community.