Incardination, Vocations & Clergy Formation

Those seeking Membership of and Incardination into TESSAC should, in the first instance, contact The Superior General, The Most Revd. Martyn Douglas.


Those who wish to be Associate Members of TESSAC, but remain with their own jurisdiction, may also apply to the Superior General for membership.  Associate Membership enables clergy to attend TESSAC Retreats and Training Events etc on an ad hoc basis without being committed to being formally Incardinated into TESSAC.

Associate Membership of TESSAC is open to those who are:

Members of other churches and jurisdictions, who do not wish to leave the same.

•  Whose orders may or may not be recognised as being valid by TESSAC, but who are holding to historic, apostolic and catholic order and practice in their faith and worship.

•  Wish to join TESSAC on Retreats, Training events and worship on an ad hoc basis without following the Rule of the Society.

Associate Members whose Orders are recognised by TESSAC may join in con-celebration at Mass where appropriate such as on Retreats and Ordinations etc.

Associate Members whose Orders are not recognised by TESSAC are urged to refrain from joining in con-celebration at Mass, but may do so at the discretion of the Bishops.

TESSAC does not set out to judge those from other churches and jurisdictions whose Orders may not be recognised but in the spirit of ecumenism still wish to engage with them as fellow Christians and children of God.

Anyone who joins as an Associate Member may at any time petition to become a full Member and apply in the usual way through the Superior General' s office. Those with Orders recognised by TESSAC would ordinarily be considered for full Membership status and received. Those with Orders not recognised by TESSAC, may be asked to undergo conditional ordination.

Associate Membership is considered on an individual basis and the forgoing is only meant as a guide to membership. The Bishops may consider some relaxing of the rules for admission.

For all enquiries and further information please contact:

Email the Superior General:


As part of the procedure of acceptance to be a member of TESSAC (full or associate), all applicants should be aware that it is our policy to make thorough investigations into every individual.

It is only when the Bishops are totally satisfied that the applicant has no past adverse reports or convictions, current police records or unresolved investigations that could cause a threat of any sort to the public - that the application for membership will be permitted to continue.


TESSAC considers men for formation after a period of discernment and testing of their willingness and desire to serve God. Generally only those over the age of 24 are considered but there is no upper age limit.

TESSAC has two Dioceses: Hamtun and Norfeld. The Ancient Order of Deaconesses is an option for women, as well as the Permanent Diaconate.

TESSAC utilises and insists on the completion of the Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies for all candidates as a starting point in their formation and organises in-house events and tuition. Candidates with relevant degrees, Diplomas and Certificates will be considered on an individual basis. It must also be stressed, however, that we take each candidate on their own merits, and also take into account any relevant life experiences they may have.

Those wishing to test their vocation with us should contact:

Email the Superior General:
The recognised service of women in the Church dates from apostolic days. The term diakonos — literally, “servant” — used both for deacons and, in the early days, for deaconesses, is applied by St. Paul (Romans 16:1) to “Phoebe, a diakonos of the Church which is in Cenchraea.” Through the letters of St. Chrysostom we know that forty deaconesses were attached to the principal church of Constantinople about the year 400 A.D. There are other records of deaconesses at Antioch and throughout the East, and evidence that the Office was well known in the Church by the 4th Century. In the Middle Ages, the Office fell into disuse.

In 1836, Theodor and Friederike Fliedner founded the first deaconess house in Kaiserswerth on the Rhine. In 1862, the Bishop of London, Archibald Campbell Tait, restored the 'ancient order of deaconesses' with Elizabeth Ferard by the laying on of hands. Women were ordained deaconesses by the Bishop of Alabama (in 1885) and the Bishop of New York (1887), and gradually, more dioceses began to make deaconesses, but there was no clear consensus: some intended that deaconesses be in holy orders, and others did not. In churches that now ordain women, the order of deaconess has largely died out.

TESSAC is keen to advance the Order of Deaconess to meet the demands of the 21st century but does not hold the view or belief that Deaconesses are in Holy Orders and therefore Ordained to any Sacred Ministry.