What does it mean to be a minister? As ministers of the Universal Life Church, we have to answer that question every day, to everyone that meets us. For some of us, it means standing in front of a congregation every week and delivering sermons to our constituents. To others, it means sitting down with troubled congregates and hearing their woes. Still others spend their ministry in study, learning all they can about religions and how they fit into the bigger picture of God's plan.
Marriage Laws: In this section, there is a video that describes all the laws in the various states about which ones require a letter of good standing and credential and which don't. There's also a list, so you'll know the legalities of performing a wedding in the various states.
The Marriage Ceremony: In here, I'd like to talk with you about being a wedding minister. How do you set yourself up? What do you do at a consultation? What do you wear? What happens during the processional? All of these things are covered, along with a lot more, like processional examples, which is a common question from couples.
Funeral Ceremonies:Many ministers are intimidated when it comes to funerals. This article will help take out the mystery and let your confidence shine through. You'll learn a lot about funerals and how to conduct them in a professional manner and where to get words to say at the funerals themselves.
Wiccan Training Pages: This section has a number of different articles written about Wicca. If you've ever been curious about it or it strikes a chord in you and you want to learn more, this is the place to look. Compliments of Lord Starwalker, among others.
Starting Your Own Church:If you are interested in starting your own church, please review these pages and feel free to use the samples to help you in your own quest to start a new church. There are samples of different things you need to file with the state or IRS.
Possession and Demons:This section was written by one of our ULC ministers to share some of his insight on Possession and Demons. There are those who disagree with this concept entirely and those who believe in it whole-heartedly. This is one person's interpretation of the concept.
Coping with Transition Anxiety: If you are asked to help someone make a transition from living independently, to moving to assisted care living, then this article may help address some concerns that will arise. This material can easily overlap into other areas where the information still applies.
10 Commandments: This is a short comparison of the varieties of the ten commandments which have been debated amongst the different religions for hundreds of years. I think the differences and similarites are a core issue for ministers of all types to understand, since there are so many variations on this same theme.
Becoming, Then Being A Minister: This is an insteresting talk about what it means to be a ULC Minister. It's a great way to look at how we deal with other people, what we can do for our communities and how we can best serve ourselves and the other people we come across.
This essay may help you focus your ministry needs and goals.
Seminary Application - To apply to be a seminary student, this page has all you need to get the free mailings and the status of being a seminary student. You will get exclusive seminary student mailings along with samples of all the courses.
Online Seminary Courses -We have here a complete list of courses, prices, credits, descriptions and samples of all the courses available, along with a direct link for where to sign up for each course. The courses increase over time, so please check back.
Being a Minister
Rev. Paul R. Vallerand II
The Universal Life Church, and especially the life we live here at the Seminary, offers us as people to do more for our fellows than we otherwise would have been able to. Although our integrity has been called into question time and again because of our loose, and some would say laughable lack of requirements, we are still one of the fastest growing churches in the world. This places a lot of pressure on our ministers to uphold the beliefs of our church, to do only that which is right. And those words have different meanings for each of us.
When I was ordained in 2002 by the Church of Spiritual Humanism, I was looking for a way to circumvent the traditional learning system that America has so readily fallen into. I wanted a way to impress my parents and do good things for my peers. What I didn't understand was that once you become a minister, your outlook on life begins to change. Once you have taken on the mantle of being one of God's messengers, you take on the responsibility of helping those around you find the spiritual centers within themselves and growing to their spiritual best.
This revelation came as I left my first coven and began to learn on my own. Having been ordained, and speaking to my god (or goddess in this case), I decided to withdraw my ordination and became, once again, a normal person. I found the ULC thanks to a friend who was already ordained through the church, and offered to ordain me yet again.
Instead I started a one year apprenticeship that showed me the meaning of being a minister. We ordain people here without any sort of training or learning, instead offering the revolutionary idea that people, once granted a title, will step up to the challenge of earning it. As the apprenticeship continued, I realized that this belief system may be the most dangerous and necessary belief to inject into the modern world. We do only that which is right, and we are forced to define what is right for ourselves. Giving our ministers the right and responsibility to think for themselves is by and large the most important thing we give here at the church.
My ordination with the ULC in 2003 showed me that the important things in life do not stem from what you already know, but from what you need to learn tomorrow. Becoming a minister has forced me, and many of you, to step up to the challenge of helping others achieve their spiritual best and accomplish what they set out to do in life. And when we find those that would help others, we encourage them to also take on the mantle of leadership and accept ordination, becoming a reverend and helping others achieve all they can.
Because that alone is the goal of any minister. It is the belief that we can help others, and the effort we put forth to that end that entitles us to be called Reverend. And thanks to the efforts of both the ULC Church and the ULC Seminary, we can step up once again and become Doctors of Divinity in the same reverse style, accepting the title and being forced thereafter to earn it. When I first saw that ULC extended such awards without a system of testing, it bothered me, but in fact it fits in perfectly with our church's belief system. We step up to the challenge of earning those things that we receive, rather than working for years to earn a title that we may never achieve. And we are required to earn these titles every single day lest we prove those that would watch our church fail right.
As you progress here as Ministers, and take on the classes of the Seminary, or just move to help those that ask you for it, keep in mind that you are representing not only yourself, but your Church and your Gods as well. We have accepted the responsibility of being ministers, and that alone has earned us the right to bear the title. Now we must step up to the challenge of becoming our personal best, because we can only help others achieve their best if we are doing so ourselves.
It all comes down to leading by example. When you sit down with a young person who is looking at schools for college, how could you, in good conscious, advise them to take classes if you have not done so yourself? In a time where Education is the most important step toward a brighter future for so many of us, and with all of the programs out there to assist us in learning what we need to know to succeed, we can easily forget that we need to never stop learning.
Volunteering our time with many of the local, state, and federal volunteer organizations can be another way to earn your ordination every day. There are millions of people that need the help of concerned members of the community, and you can lead your congregates in a mission to assist those in trouble.
So as you walk your path, remember that everyone has a mission in life, and all of us must find the path for ourselves. But never stop earning your title, dear Reverends, for the day we stop acting like ministers is the day we should turn our collars in.
Remember this in the name of the Gods, and remember to do only that which is right. Thank you, and blessed be.
If you have been asked to do a funeral service and are in need of some non-denominational healing words to share, please go the shopping cart and look under 'general ministry needs'. We offer there a complete selection of funeral ceremonies that can be emailed to you right away.
I would suggest the saying the Lord's Prayer, which supremely fits all occasions, or the 23 Psalm, written below:
The Lord is my Shepherd:
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.
( Ps 23 )
Or consider a reading:
Even though one short step separates us from this thing called death, when it actually occurs, we discover that death is not what we thought. Death is not the destructive force we feared it to be. Instead, we will discover death to have been conquered already by our Lord who experienced it for Himself, and then came back to tell us that we should not fear death because He had made preparations for us. "Let not your heart be troubled."
( John 14:1 )
"But I would not have you be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him."
( 1 Thess. 4:13-15 KJV )
REMEMBER that there is no one way to perform a funeral service. The important aspects are reverence for the moment, continuing the cultural tradition of how we lay to rest our deceased, the call upon God for comfort and peace in this time of sorrow and grief, the reverence of God’s promise of eternal life to those that believe.
The funeral ceremony is for the bereaved more than the deceased. The minister is the professional person entrusted by God to carry forth the rites of the departed into the arms of a loving God.
God, grant us the strength and courage to embrace our Faith so that we may see that all of life is in Your hands. Amen.
Lord, we entrust all our hours to You. In our waking moments and in our sleep, we rest in You. We also entrust our loved ones to You in these moments of ultimate sleep.
Our Father, we need a source of strength and refuge. We need a resting place. For being this kind of help in time of trouble, we offer our thanks. Bless the memory of this dear woman, my mother, and grant us all the peace that comes from trusting in You.
Oh God, I thank You for the light of Your Son and the way that light has shone through the love of mothers.
God, give us the grace to consider the way our lives are being measured. May the life of my mother remind us never to ignore the quality of life at the expense of quantity. We ask our prayer in the name of our Perfect Example.
Our Father, for the promise of eternal life we offer our praise and gratitude. How difficult our lives would be today if we had no hope. But we do have a hope. We are called forth from this moment by the life of our Lord, in whose name we pray.
Hear our prayer, O God, as we lay before You the concerns of our heart. Our hearts feel pain in these moments. Hear our cries, especially those that are deep and silent. You know the sorrow that has befallen us and You are aware of the grief within us. We come to You for healing and strength. Amen.