Monthly Archives: April 2014

PhD in Religion, Pastoral Counseling, Metaphysics, with a Concentration

Get a degree online PhD Pastoral Counseling Metaphysics ReligionCustomize your PhD Title

For years now the seminary has offered religious PhD degrees in Metaphysics, Religion, Religious Studies, Ministry, Pastoral Counseling, Spiritual Counseling, etc. Degree candidates can customize their PhD according to the work they are doing in the field of spirituality. Some are working in a spiritual healing center, or maintaining a spiritual counseling practice as a part of their ministry. (All of our PhD’s and Doctor of Divinity, Doctor of Theology graduates must become ordained as clergy by us — which is free with their degree — if they are not already ordained elsewhere).

PhD with a Concentration

Not only can you choose your PhD discipline and thus your PhD title, you can also add a concentration on your degree diploma. For example, last month we conferred a PhD in Metaphysics with a Concentration in Holistic Counseling. Another concentration was PhD in Pastoral Counseling with a concentration in Ministry. There are all manner of ways to describe what you do. You must of course write your thesis / dissertation on that topic, but if it’s the area you are focusing your current spiritual work, writing the thesis about it will go easy.

Get ordained on Easter Sunday

Get ordained become a minister

Certificate of Ordination from our church

There is still time for Easter Sunday ordinations in 2014.  Every year we have people want to become an ordained minister on Easter Sunday.

For centuries since the earliest days of Christianity during the Roman Empire, the traditional day for baptisms and ordinations — either to the priesthood or to become an ordained deacon — were held on Easter Sunday.  It is a tradition many of our clergy want to be a part of.

If you want to be part of this tradition, all you need to do is follow the three steps to ordination, then fill out the online minister application and let us know you want Easter Sunday for your ordination.

(You can actually choose any date that has special meaning to you for your ordination)

Get Ordained to Officiate Weddings, We do all the paperwork

Get ordained become a minister

Certificate of Ordination from our church

Wedding season is here!  Get ordained in time to officiate marriagess, become a wedding officiant today. We take care of all the legal paperwork.

The Esoteric Interfaith Church, Inc. has always assisted our ordained ministers get their paperwork in line so they are able to officiate a wedding in any US State. Some States require more than the signed Certificate of Ordination from us, they require you to register first with them before you can perform the marriage.

We help you with all required paperwork.   Nevada, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Hawaii, Virginia and cities like New York City and Washington, D.C. require extra paperwork before the minister is allowed to officiate weddings. There are other “picky” states, too, and we help you with all of them.  Our ministers and rabbis are able to legally officiate weddings in all 50 States.

For example, we are notarizing a special Nevada affidavit to solemnize marriage for one of our ordained ministers. [Our Seminary also granted him a PhD in Religious Studies and Doctor of Divinity, but you don’t need a religious degree to legally perform a wedding.  All you need is your Certificate of Ordination such as those we give to those we ordain.]

In Nevada, the minister who wants to perform a wedding there has to fill out extra paperwork and get a notarized affidavit from us.   He was ordained as a minister and earned not only his PhD in Theology degree here, but also a Doctor of Divinity years ago. But now he wants to do weddings. So we got him all set up.

Many ministers also need to be what’s called a “visiting minister” when they officiate an out-of-state wedding. We also help with that paperwork. We just got an ordained minister in Maryland all squared away with Virginia because he will be performing a marriage as a visiting minister. We contacted the court directly, found out exactly what was needed to show the Clerk of the Court in Virginia, which is a Letter of Good Standing from us on church letterhead, copy of his credentials from us, etc.

How to Register as an Ordained Minister to Officiate Weddings in Nevada

Clark County Nevada and Washoe County both have the paperwork you need right online.  All you have to do is fill in the blanks, then print it out. We will send you the link, if you can’t find it. One page however is for us, the church that ordains you. It’s called the Affidavit of Authority to Solemnize Marriages in Nevada. The church fills our page out, gets it notarized and sends to you to submit all at once with the pages you fill out.

Get Ordained with a nationwide church that supports you

If you are thinking about getting ordained, starting your own church or wedding chapel, setting up a pastoral / spiritual counseling or healing practice, we have been helping clergy (ministers, rabbis, chaplains, priests) with their paperwork for 26 years, and have been here online since 1999.

Filing your taxes as a minister or other clergy member, don’t forget your tax breaks!

get ordained onlineWell, it’s tax time and as usual, I am slogging thru the sea of rules for ordained ministers and clergy. Since I direct a Seminary that ordains several ministers per month, I am also asked tax questions by our alumni this time of year. I came across some very big tax breaks for ministers I had forgotten about! With this economy, we clergy need every tax break we can get.

For example, all these years I’ve been filing my taxes as a member of the clergy, first as an ordained minister / pastor, priest and then bishop, and all these years as an advisor to hundreds of ministers and rabbis we have ordained over the years (we’ve been ordaining ministers since 1987), I have been missing out on some of the many tax benefits.

Most ministers know you can (with a bunch of paperwork) exempt yourself from paying federal income taxes and social security. You then have to figure out your own retirement, but there are tons of cool retirement benefits for pastors and ministers, so it’s not that bad. I personally pay into the social security system every year called self employment tax. Ministers can report income as self-employment income if their church issues them a 1099 (which is easier than you think, church founders and directors – as church director, I have to sign my own 1099, ironically). The church can also pay you with a W2 – also not hard to draw up if you have founded a church and are now worried sick, just get organized in January to make the deadlines. Some ministers even get one W2 showing salary paid and a 1099 for all the fees they earned from performing a baptism, officiating a wedding, funeral, etc. My church doesn’t really make enough to pay me a salary, but I do get some fees as a wedding officiant, for doing an in person ordination ceremony, etc. So the church pays me every year with a 1099 MISC.

What a lot of ministers are missing out on and which I used to not really care about, is the housing allowance. If you have founded a church as a non-profit and it is bringing in donations and finally able to pay you the minister, (or rabbi, chaplain, priest) a salary or with a 1099 for a bunch of fees, you can subtract a huge amount of that income from your taxable income – that is you don’t have to pay taxes on it. The housing allowance means you can basically “deduct” not only your mortgage or rent payment, but also utilities, repairs and even furniture purchases. IRS Publication 517 which you can find online easily, explains a lot of the details. One of our ordained ministers recently ordained founded their own church and is now issuing themselves a salary. The board of directors (you only have to have 3 people, one of which is yourself to found a church) then made a resolution at their very first meeting to pay her a salary and also a housing allowance of $2000 a month, which is the going rate in her area for a furnished house plus utilities.

To be able to use the housing allowance, they said it is best to be an ordained minister, not just a licensed or a commissioned minister. In an audit if you are a “duly ordained minister” you have the best chance for the housing allowance to be upheld by the IRS. Licensed or commissioned ministers do not normally qualify for it. At first I thought that doesn’t make sense, but then again we have always “duly” ordained our candidates never really having a need to make a licensed or commissioned minister.

Those who found and run a wedding chapel also can benefit from the ordained minister tax breaks, and the wealth of info in the online IRS publications pertaining to clergy and members of religious orders.

Render unto Caesar that which is “his” would now be “Render unto Uncle Sam!”

Email me if you have any questions about becoming ordained.


Bishop Katia