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General Ordination Exams

General Ordination Exams

January 3-7 Episcopalians seeking ordination will be taking the General Ordination Exams. The Rev. Canon Susan Russell offered some advice for preparation with only a few days left to study. From Facebook:

Chaplain Susan’s Free Gratis for Nothing GOE Advice:

[1] Time to stop studying. You already know everything you’re going to learn.

[2] Spend the time between now and Jan 3 taking care of yourself — body, mind and soul.

[3] Dig around on your bookshelf and find some of the voices who inspired you to respond to this call in the first place. Re-read them. Remind yourself why you’re doing this. Why it matters. What an awesome privilege it is to be preparing to serve the Gospel and challenge the Church. (Mine were Verna Dozier, Madeline L’Engle, Fredrica Harris Thompsett and Thomas Merton.) and then finally

[4] Answer. The. Question. Pay attention to the context the examiners set and then give them what you’ve got. And all will be well. We’ll be praying for you.

What is your advice?


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David Fletcher

Brevity is the wit of soul.

Matthew Buterbaugh+

I think this is pretty sound advice. One thing I did do that was helpful was to just thumb through all my books to remember what was in them (i.e. look at table of contents and pictures). Outside of that, the best advice I got was to look at the GOE’s as a spiritual practice, relax and have fun with them. (They’ll ordain you, either way)


This is the advice I came up with after I took the GOEs, which I still think has a lot of validity. (I have no idea who put it online.)

Julie Murdoch+


I will echo the “answer the question” advice and add: pay attention to the resources you are to use. Sometimes the Hymnal 1982 *is* in fact useful in answering a Church history question!

– Anne LeVeque

Tricia Templeton

If being around others taking the exam raises anxiety, then stay away. I took it pre-internet, so had to go to the seminary in the morning to get the questions, then went home and didn’t go back until time to turn them in. There were a couple of profs who delighted in raising everyone’s anxiety. Staying away from them helped lower mine.

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