ULC Case Law
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Washington, D.C. 20006
The proliferation of the internet has brought many benefits to modern society. The ability to receive instant news updates from around the world, send electronic mail to distant friends, family, and co-workers – for free – in a matter of seconds, and gain knowledge via search engines has undoubtedly made the world a better, albeit more hectic, place. As other ministries and non-profit organizations from around the world have done since the rise of the internet, the Universal Life Church now proudly offers its non-denominational religious services online. We live in a day and age where the entire world lies only a click or touch away from our computers and smart phones; why should the ability to become ordained online be any different?
Online ordination is a remarkably simple process. Most online ministries, including the Universal Life Church, allow newcomers to get ordained online instantaneously after entering their personal information (full legal name, mailing address, and e-mail address) on their sites. A handful of online churches insist that people wait a couple of days to get ordained as their staff processes ordination requests and performs background checks. Furthermore, the ordination process is generally completely free; this means that you can become a legally-ordained minister, capable of performing all the services conventional ministers perform, in a matter of minutes and from the comfort of your own home without even paying a cent. Some online ministries, including some branches of the Universal Life Church, charge fees first to become ordained and then to renew ordinations after predetermined periods of time (generally after one to five years). We highly recommend you “shop around” before becoming ordained, as some online ministries offer far better “deals” than others (i.e. don’t have ordination or renewal fees).
You may be thinking “Free and instantaneous online ordination sounds great, but what’s the catch? What can I do with my ordination?” Rest assured that the Universal Life Church ordination, and the ministerial documentation it offers, are not a worthless. In fact, ULC ministers are legally able to perform many of the same ceremonies that people who spend years in theological colleges and seminaries are capable of doing.
Officiate A Wedding – The Universal Life Church’s ordination is legally recognized in the vast majority of US states, meaning that anyone can get ordained through it to perform weddings. What could possibly be more touching for your engaged friend or family member than to have you be the one who officiates their wedding?
Perform a Baptism Or Funeral – These ceremonies are not regulated by the government as marriage is, and ministers of online churches are thus able to perform them in any capacity they or others would like. Ministers looking to perform baptisms in the style of specific faiths (i.e. Catholicism), and then have these baptisms recognized by that faith group, should contact representatives of that religion in order to determine if they will in fact be recognized.
Be A Chaplain – Prisons and hospitals are filled with men and women in need of the comfort that religion can provide, and Universal Life Church ministers are more than capable of providing this help by using their ministers license.
As has been alluded to earlier, it is important to remember that there are many sites where you can get ordained online. One of the easiest places where you can get ordained to become a minister is via the Universal Life Church where you can fill out a form quickly for free. Each of them has slightly different policies concerning their ordinations (free with no renewal fees, or the opposite), their belief system (inclusive and non-denominational, or exclusive and attached to a certain faith group), and the speed of their ordination process (instantaneous to lengthy). Fortunately, the ministers of most online churches are legally capable of doing the same things; this means that you will not preclude yourself from performing certain kinds of ceremonies by getting ordained with the wrong online ministry. Do research ahead of time and decide what kind of online ordination you are interested in.
Next, use a search engine to find the online church that is right for you. Use search terms like “get ordained”, “become a minister“, and “be a minister” to find such a site. Once you have determined where you want to get ordained, fill out and submit the online ordination forms. It’s as easy as that!
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