When Isaac Bonewits founded ADF, he wrote in his Vision statement that:
In ADF we believe that excellence in clergy training and practice is vital for any healthy, growing religion. To that end we are attempting to create a professional clergy training program equal in difficulty and superior in results to anything done by the world's other religions. Unlike many alternate religions, we will never have "instant initiations" into our clergy.
The path toward clergy within ADF is not easy: you cannot purchase credentials from us (indeed, the cost of the training is, at this time, simply the cost of membership in ADF: there are no hidden fees), nor can you bring "transfer credit" from another tradition with you (though we encourage those who are interested to study in more than just our tradition).
In order to become clergy in ADF, you must engage in our training programs and complete them. The program of study is built to require a disciplined approach to Our Druidry over time, as well as providing the practical and theoretical knowledge that a Priest will need.
The steps are fairly simple:
- Join ADF.
- Complete the documentation for the ADF Dedicant Path (which takes approximately 1 year of solid study).
- Complete the baseline clergy training (this can be done, depending on how focused you are, in about six to twelve weeks).
- Complete the First Circle of the ADF Clergy Training Program (roughly one year of dedicated study).
Once you have completed the First Circle of the CTP, you are eligible to be ordained as an ADF Priest. To become an ADF Consecrated Priest, there is an additional year-long training course to be taken. An ADF Senior Priest can expect to train for one additional year.
Keep in mind that the above timelines are based on a student who spends his or her time deeply involved in the study surrounding their clergy training. Most students will take longer than the minimum amount of time indicated above.
The path of an ADF Priest is open to all members of ADF at this time, whether male or female, old or young (so long as you're past your 18th birthday), solitary or Grove-affiliated. Completion of the Clergy Training Program does not guarantee that you will become clergy, as background checks and ritual skill factor in as much (or more) than academic work.
While we don't have a system of endless interviews, we do hope to meet our candidates prior to their ordinations: please do consider attending local festivals where you can meet some of our members and leadership.
So, here are the big three questions most people ask:
- Question: How much does it cost to become an ADF Priest?
- Answer: By keeping your ADF membership current, you have paid all you need to pay to ADF for the training. When you apply for ordination, there may be an administrative cost (to cover background checks or ritual items), or travel costs to get to a festival, but those costs are nominal in general. This is "cheap" compared to other courses of study, we know. But we believe our students will pay back to the Pagan community far more than the cash value of their training, and that's more than enough for us.
- Question: How long does it take before I can become ordained?
- Answer: It depends on the student, but you should expect a minimum of 2 years. Some students have taken as long as 6-7 years before feeling prepared to apply for ordination.
- Question: Can I transfer previous experience/coursework/training into the CTP?
- Answer: No, the ADF Clergy Training Program is self-contained and is a complete program. There are occasions within some courses where a previously-written paper or essay may apply, but you cannot test out of an entire course.