Membership of the community is open to Anglican women, both lay and ordained, who feel called to serve others in the spirit of Jesus, the Good Shepherd. Provided a candidate is mature and of sound mind, there are no age restrictions. Because of the importance of close fellowship, especially during the period of formation, any woman wishing to enter the Community must be able to spend substantial time with the "College" to which she will belong.
A woman seeking to join the Community should, in the first instance, make contact with one of the Sisters. She will be encouraged to discuss the matter more thoroughly by telephone, and then, if she wishes to proceed, to visit one of the Sisters for a week or two, to become better acquainted with the ethos and lifestyle of the Community. If, having done so, she wishes to explore further the possibility of entering the Community, she may be asked to spend some months living the community's Rule of Life, after which she may apply to be received as a Postulant.
If received as a Postulant, she will be under the care and supervision of the Prioress of her College. She will be expected, during her postulancy, to get to know all the Sisters of her College and to deepen her understanding of the Seven Notes and the Rule of Life. She will also need to attend at least two meetings of her College Chapter before she can be considered for the Novitiate. The length of the postulancy is normally in the region of three months or more, but may be extended for as long as the College Chapter considers appropriate.
If, in due course, it seems clear both to the Postulant and to the members of her College that the Lord is calling her to proceed, she may be received as a Novice. It is at this point that she will receive the habit and the Novices' cross. Novices have the same duty as professed Sisters to attend all meetings of their College Chapter and of the Community as a whole. Each Novice is under the care and supervision either of the Prioress or of another Sister of her College. The Novitiate normally lasts for three years, but may be shortened in the case of a person of mature years or in exceptional circumstances.
Vows are made, in the first instance, for one year, but with life intention. At this point the Sister is given the Community cross. At the end of a year, the vows are normally renewed for a further two years, after which the Sister may apply to make life vows. At life vows, the Sister receives a ring to mark the indelible character of her consecration to God as a Sister of the Good Shepherd.