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License to Officiate (LTO) Guidelines

Priests wishing to be licensed to officiate in The Episcopal Diocese of New York must first meet all of the application requirements.  You will find below a statement of the canonical requirement for licensing and an outline of the application process.  If you have any questions about these guidelines or the application process, please contact Alito Orsini in the Transition Ministry Office at 212-316-7414:

No Priest shall preach, minister the sacraments, or hold any public service, within the limits of any Diocese other than the Diocese in which the Priest is canonically resident for more than two months without a license from the  Ecclesiastical Authority of the Diocese in which the Priest desires to officiate.  No Priest shall be denied such a license on account of the Priest’s race, color, ethnic origin, sex, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, disabilities, or age, except as otherwise provided in these canons.  Upon expiration or withdrawal of a license, a priest shall cease immediately to officiate.
[Constitution & Canons, 2015: III.9.6 (a)]


    1. APPLICATION – Completed application returned to the Transition Ministry Office.
    2. Complete the Statement on Participation in the Social Security System – Completed Statement on Participation in the Social Security System returned to the Transition Ministry Office.
    3. INS EMPLOYMENT ELIGIBILITY VERIFICATION – Completion of U.S. Department of Justice Immigration and Naturalization Service Employment Eligibility Verification [photocopy of a valid passport is OK].  Send photocopies of the required documents along with your application to the Transition Ministry Office.
    4. BACKGROUND CHECK – to initiate the required background check send a $120 check payable to “Oxford Document Management Inc.” to the Transition Ministry Office.  If you have completed an Oxford background check elsewhere within the past two years, a data transfer will be done, ranging in cost from $45 – $80.  These fees are non-refundable.  No License to Officiate is granted before completion of an Oxford background check.
    5. STATEMENT OF GOOD STANDING – Contact your canonical bishop and request a Letter of Good Standing for you be sent to: 

       The Right Rev. Andrew ML Dietsche
       Bishop of New York
       1047 Amsterdam Avenue
       New York, NY 10025
      The Canon for Transition Ministry should be copied on this letter.

    6. LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION – Ask the Rector, Pastor, Priest-in-Charge, Employer, or Supervisor of the parish, community, or institution where you are employed and/or where you will be exercising priestly ministry to send Bishop Dietsche a brief letter recommending you and outlining your ministry.
      The Canon for Transition Ministry should be copied on this letter.

    7. SAFE CHURCH TRAINING – Training in both Awareness & Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse and Awareness & Prevention of Adult Sexual Harassment & Exploitation. Note: in-person training is mandatory for clergy the first time, subsequent training can be completed either in-person or online. Additionally, clergy are required to update their training every five years (either in-person or online).  No License to Officiate is granted before completion of Safe Church training requirement.

      If you previously completed the required training, you may provide a copy of your certificate(s) of completion OR ask for copies to be sent.  If you have not completed the training, or need to update your training, Click Here for diocesan Safe Church webpage for information and training options.

    8. ANTI-RACISM TRAINING – Consistent with the national canons, the Bishop of New York requires all clergy to compete Anti-Racism training.  If you have previously completed Anti-Racism training, you may provide a copy of your certificate of completion OR ask for a copy to be sent.  If you have not completed the training, you can do so when it is offered in this or another diocese.  Click here for Diocesan Anti-Racism webpage for information and training dates.
    9. INTERVIEW – BISHOP’S OFFICE – Following the completion/receipt of all application requirements, your application will be reviewed and references contacted.  You will be notified by the Bishop’s office regarding the status of your application and the scheduling of an interview.

Note regarding annual renewal of a License to Officiate

Licenses to Officiate expire on the last day of June each year.  In early June each calendar year all current LTO priests will receive a “Report and Renewal Request” form which asks for a brief report on the past year’s ministry settings, including dates and locations of any supply work that was done.  Upon receipt and review of this completed form a new license for the upcoming year is sent to each LTO priest by mail.

Note regarding opportunities for participation in the life of the Diocese of New York

The Bishop of New York expects all priests who hold a License to Officiate to participate in the life of this diocese by maintaining an official affiliation with a parish, community or institution for which they conduct worship services on a regular basis, AND/OR by serving the diocese as a supply priest, available for at least 6 services annually.

The Transition Ministry Office maintains supply clergy lists, which are available online through the diocesan website.  Click here to view the Supply Information webpage.

The Diocese of New York recommends the following minimum compensation guidelines for supply priests:

    • $180 for one service, plus travel expenses at the IRS rate

    • $270 for two services, plus travel expenses at the IRS rate

    • $100 for a week-day service, plus travel expenses at the IRS rate

    • Ministry in addition to the Sunday or week-day services is to be compensated at an additional
      hourly rate, plus travel, to be agreed upon by the parish and priest.  For guidance please contact
      the Transition Ministry Office.

    • Travel reimbursement includes all public transportation fares (with receipts) OR mileage at the standard IRS mileage allowance (54 cents per mile in 2016) and tolls.

    • Statement of Pension assessment: “If supply clergy, who are active (that is, not retired and drawing pension benefits), earn $200 or more per month in salary and/or housing from the same congregation for three or more consecutive months, an assessment of 18% to the Church Pension Fund is mandated, retroactive to the first month.”

Note regarding clergy registration to perform marriages in the City of New York

The City of New York requires ordained clergy to be registered before performing marriages in The City of New York.  Registration guidelines and the application are available through the website of The Office of The City Clerk, the address is:  The application can be filled out online, but you will have to go in person to complete the registration process.  In the past the City Clerk has accepted your name listed in the Episcopal Clerical Directory or the Episcopal Church Annual as proof of ordination for registration option one.

Transition Office Contacts

The Rev. Canon Nora Smith
Canon for Transition Ministry, Intake Officer

Cell: 917-319-3959
Office: 212-316-7421
[email protected]

Mr. Alito Orsini
Liaison to Canon for Ministry, Liaison to Canon for Transition Ministry

Office: 212-316-7414
Fax: 212-932-7368
[email protected]