The entrance process in candidacy is the first formal discernment by a candidacy committee and an applicant of their readiness for candidacy. A decision to grant entrance officially accepts an applicant into candidacy.
Before starting seminary, a candidate should seek entrance by completing all necessary pre-entrance and entrance requirements of their synod of candidacy. Normally, a candidacy committee will grant entrance prior to an applicant’s beginning seminary studies. A candidate entranced after December 1 in their first semester of studies will likely be delayed in completing their program because all students seeking candidacy in the ELCA must be entranced before they can begin contextual education courses. As a pre-requisite for contextual/field education, a student must have successfully completed a background check and been cleared by their denomination to enter their licensure process.
Entrance into candidacy begins a formal relationship in a community of discernment that includes the appropriate candidacy committee, the worshiping community of which a candidate is a part, the seminary of enrollment, and the candidacy team in the Congregational and Synodical Mission unit. As these relationships are formed and cultivated, a candidate continues their discernment of call.
A key aspect of the ongoing discernment fostered through candidacy is attending a seminary and gaining experience in contextual settings. It is very acceptable for a candidate to pursue such a course without having total clarity about what God is inviting them to consider in their vocation.