Period of Discernment Resources

Period of Discernment Resources

Resource Downloads

BASIS OF UNION – English (1992 Ed.) (PDF | 7 pages | 104 KB) Download File

English language version.

BASIS OF UNION – Chinese (1992 Ed.) (PDF | 7 pages | 470 KB) Download File
Chinese language version.

BASIS OF UNION – Korean (1992 Ed.) (PDF | 9 pages | 322 KB) Download File
Korean language version.

BASIS OF UNION – Samoan (1992 Ed.) (PDF | 29 pages | 1.54 MB) Download File
Samoan language version.

BASIS OF UNION – Tongan (1992 Ed.) (PDF | 10 pages | 636 KB) Download File
Tongan language version.

Approved by the Assembly Standing Committee, November 2008. Useful for study by those considering some views of Ordination in the Uniting Church.

A one-page study outline for Mentors and Discernees OR Study Groups to help explore the themes in the Statement from the Assembly.

BAPTISM Docbyte (240K) Download File
This ‘Docbyte’ from the Assembly introduces a discussion about how Baptism is understood in the Uniting Church. This is particularly useful for a small group discussion, but will also be useful for a Mentor / Discernee conversation about Baptism in the Uniting Church.

BASIS OF UNION (‘Hitchhikers Trip’) (147K) Download File
This is the ever-famous ‘Hitchhikers’ guide to the Basis of Union’ from the Queensland Synod… a kind-of UCA Guide to itself… an easy way to get into ‘who are we anyway?’

CHURCH GUIDANCE (26K) Download File
This explains how we understand guidance and discernment in the Church on tricky issues. It goes through a process for considering issues.

ORDINATION Docbyte (527K) Download File
This ‘Docbyte’ from the Assembly introduces a conversation about Ordination. It is particularly useful for small groups but will also be handy for a Mentor / Discernee discussion about the Uniting Church’s perspective on Ordination.

POD Full Kit 2013 (PDF, 47 pages) (761K) Download File
Resources explaining the Period of Discernment and how to undertake one.

POD Registration Form 2013 (PDF, 2 pages) (25K) Download File
Complete this form in order to register the start of you Period of Discernment with your presbytery.

PRESBYTERY RESOURCE – Checklist of issues for POD Mentors and PRCs (PDF, 4 pages) (240K) Download File
Update March 2010 – also contains info helpful for Applicants for Ordination.

WHO IS A MEMBER (259K) Download File
What does it mean to be a member of the UCA? This was a 2007 Assembly discussion paper. It contains up-to-date thinking and wondering about who we might think we are as church-people.

Books, Journals, Workbooks

In addition to the resources above, there are several excellent workbooks for use by Discernees and their Mentors – alone or in groups. We can particularly recommend the following books. Some of these can be found on the Mediacom website or The Upper Room.  

Mentoring to Develop Disciples & Leaders
Released 1998, Revised August, 2004, Reprinted 2010

John Mallison was the founding Director of ELM. On his website you will find resources for Mentoring and Discipleship Development.

This book is of particular value to Mentors and Discernees.

Mentoring – A Guide for Ministry
Cheryl Lawrie

This is a short 47 page practical guide for Mentors and people who are Mentored.

ISBN 0-88177-468-5

This one is particularly recommended for people undertaking a Period of Discernment.

A Workbook for Personal Spiritual Discernment
By Valerie K Isenhower and Judith A Todd

As much as we might wish for a magic crystal ball to give us answers, discernment is not a trick performed by a toy. There is no secret short-cut to knowing which job to take, house to buy, or relationship to pursue. The good news is that we do not have to make these decisions alone. As people of faith we know that every aspect of our lives is important to the God who created us for a life of purpose. This inspiring and practical workbook, introduces readers to some tools and practices that help us invite God into our decision–making process, help us create prayerfully considered choices, and live with the confidence that God will use our choices to invite us into deeper and more fruitful relationship. The discernment process encourages people to fill the hunger in their lives for a deeper connection with the spiritual through a way of being and living that satisfies the hunger. A practical workbook for putting God at the center of the personal decision-making process.


Published by The Upper Room

This one is useful for groups seeking to develop discernment together – e.g. a Church Council or Council of Elders or Planning Group.

A Workbook for Corporate Spiritual Discernment
By Valerie K Isenhower and Judith A Todd

Personal discernment is hard enough, but corporate discernment can be truly bewildering! Isenhower and Todd offer a powerful ten-step process that will move you toward understanding God’s call for your church. Listen for God’s Leading includes abundant group exercises for the discernment team, spiritual disciplines for individual and team use, prayers to be used during meetings, biblical references for group lectio, and an appendix on faith-based management that could be a book in its own right. Most valuable is the continually fresh emphasis on keeping God at the heart of the process. Isenhower and Todd know how the process can go awry, so they build in practices to foster accountability and to nurture mind, soul and imagination for team faith building. The result is a vital and inspiring guide for a vital and inspiring work.


Published byThe Upper Room

The following resource package is good for small groups seeking to learn discernment practices together. 

A Small-Group Experience in Spiritual Formation
By Stephen V Doughty, Marjorie J Thompson

We stand before the forest of our own wonderings. Then bit by bit, we become aware of a path through the forest. “What do I do now?” From deep within us there’s a desire to do the right thing, to make wise choices, to live in a fruitful manner. There are simple steps anyone can take that will open understanding. The scriptures repeatedly acknowledge the existence of a sure pathway in life. “Even the most exacting circumstances lies a way that leads to greater understanding of God’s desire and, therefore, of what we are to do,” write the authors. “…We pray for deeper understanding. We wait. We struggle. We search. Then, aha! Understanding comes. Perhaps it flares forth suddenly. Perhaps it emerges with the slow, growing radiance of the morning sun. Either way, we know we have not brought the insight into being ourselves. It comes from beyond us.” So, how do you discover God’s guidance for personal and congregational decisions? Discover the way to greater clarity in The Way of Discernment, a 10-week study for small groups. More of a journey in discernment than a how-to guide, this study gently leads to a prayerful path for a richer, wiser life. Part of the Companions in Christ series, The Way of Discernment offers a biblical, theological and practical framework for understanding the practice of discernment. It provides Principles of personal and group discernment Daily exercises to help you move from information to experience Weekly meeting plans (in Leader’s Guide) designed for group sharing and worship Penetrating questions to aid the process of discernment


A Small-Group Experience in Spiritual Formation
By Marjorie J Thompson

How do you discover God’s guidance for personal and congregational decisions? Lead others in exploring paths to clarity in this small group study. Supporting resource for the Participant’s Book, this guide provides everything leaders need to prepare and conduct small group studies of The Way of Discernment. It offers clear suggestions for the structure of meetings, leadership ideas and specific centering and guided prayers. Who is this study designed for? People yearning to hear the Holy Spirit’s guidance Individuals looking for direction in vocation or life changes Church leaders seeking clarity about their congregation’s distinctive mission Christians searching for God’s will in matters of belief, ethics and faithful living In response to the desire of many small groups to continue exploring spiritual practices that began with the original 28-week Companions in Christ resource, Upper Room Ministries has developed the Companions in Christ series. The Way of Discernment is the eighth title in the series. It offers a journey (plus a preparatory meeting) of exploring perspectives and practices for personal spiritual discernment, along with several forms of small group discernment. Finally, it points beyond the limitations of this small group process to possibilities for discerning God’s will in congregations and larger bodies of the church. We commend it to leadership groups interested in bringing this important practice into congregational and denominational life.


Published by The Upper Room