Category Archives: Become Ordained

Holiday Season – Good Time to Get Ordained

Ordained minister performs a holiday weddingWe have entered the end-of-year holidays, the most powerful holiday season of every year. At this time, spiritual energy really surges and many people feel called “home” to religion or faith tradition. Many people also answer the call to the ministry.

Get Ordained to Perform a Wedding

There are a lot of weddings this time of year (second only to June wedding season) and thus many become an ordained minister or rabbi in order to officiate a marriage. We ordain a lot of clergy in order that they may perform a wedding.

Get Ordained to Offer Spiritual Advice or Counseling

But also, there is an uptick every year this time in people becoming ordained in order to offer spiritual guidance, spiritual counseling to the slice of humanity that surrounds them.  A person often realizes they should become ordained when they notice friends and co-workers, even family are coming to them almost daily asking for spiritual advice. They are literally already acting as informal clergy, and the next step is ordination to make it legal (and be able to accept donations). That, of course, is where our Seminary comes in.  We ordain ministers and rabbis of all callings and denominations — even non-denominational!

Have you heard the Call to Ordination?

If you have felt that pull, that tug on your soul-strings, it might be time for you to become an ordained member of the clergy. We do all the legal paperwork and help you begin your destiny of helping humanity fulfill its vital spiritual needs.  You may go on to found your own non-profit religious organization or church, or you may continue to serve your community as a spiritual guide.

So much attention is paid to physical and mental needs, but ordained clergy serve a vital purpose helping their people connect to SPIRITUAL needs.

Bizarre Marriage Laws You Might Be Breaking!

This is a cute article: 13 Surprising Marriage Laws You Might be Breaking Right Now!

As you know, our church and seminary can ordain you as a minister or rabbi so that you may perform weddings and legally officiate marriages.  But according to the amusing article above, if a couple gets married in Delaware because of a “dare, or in jest”, then they can get an anulment. So a lot of people must have been saying,  “I dare you to marry me!” in the state of Delaware.

I like the historical black and white photographs the article displays with each bizarre marriage law. One is a bride and groom handcuffed together, I think in Tennessee.  They list funny (I would say bizarre!) marriage laws in South Carolina, Massachusetts, Kentucky,  Vermont, Mississippi and Kansas.

We help our clergy with all the paperwork after ordination, too.  Currently we have a minister getting ready to officiate a marriage in Pennsylvania, a Rabbi performing a marriage in Texas, and other ministers officiating weddings in New York, California, and Florida. Next week there are several more, one in Virginia, Ohio, Illinois, Nevada.

If you ever decide to become ordained in order to officiate a wedding, or because a bride and groom wanted to choose their own marriage officiant, we can help you navigate through all the legal paperwork. We even advise you how to fill out the marriage license on the wedding day.  We do that quite often for our ordained clergymen and women.

Ordination and Doctorate Degree Ceremony

By distance learning, by “remote”, the Seminary can legally ordain you as a minister and confer upon you a religious Doctorate Degree, Ph.D., Doctor of Divinity, Theology, etc.   You submit the information and we process and ship your new clergy credentials.  And then YOU can take it to the next level as this recent graduate did (see photos below), organizing a lovely ordination ceremony and graduation ceremony complete with presentation of the diploma and laying on of hands ordination.

Get your PhD Doctor of Divinity Theology Metaphysics Religion Doctor of Divinity online Become ordainedOnline Ordination PhD Degree Diploma

Definition of Ordination and to be Ordained

I have been trying to find the ancient definition of the word “ordination” and “ordained” that I once read. I read years ago that ordination is a word that meant in ancient Hebrew “to have the [divine] tools of God’s work placed in your hands.”

Become ordained minister by laying on of handsOur other bishop here at the seminary sent me a link to Archbishop Campbell’s website. ++Campbell says this about ordination:

“Finally, let me stress that neither the Bible nor the law requires laying on of hands for legitimate or legal ordination. Policy on minister ordination…allows for ordination by a variety of methods…however all methods of ordination will follow and be in an apostolic manner upholding the historic lines of apostolic succession.

(Note: In Acts 14:23 the word “appointed” or “ordained” can mean (1)
to stretch out the hand, (2) to appoint [ordain] by show of hands or (3) to
appoint or elect [or ordain] without regard to the method. Source: NIV Study
Bible).

Writing Your Spiritual History to Become Ordained

Become Ordained Online OrdinationTo become an ordained minister or rabbi via our Interfaith Seminary, all candidates must write their spiritual history. Many who apply for ordination are not sure how to write it, so we email them back and say just hit reply and type up the story of religion and spirituality in your life from childhood to present. Here is what one of our recently ordained ministers came up with.

I was born and raised into the Catholic faith. My earliest childhood memory is actually of a Sunday morning where my mom was explaining to me to be good at church. I asked her what church was and she described the way the church looked with its tall ceilings and columns and I remembered what she was talking about.

 

I went to Catholic school. There was a big difference between going to my family’s church on Sundays and the three days we’d go to church in a school week. Where Sundays were so warm and I loved the priest, school church was cold, boring and it seemed as if I was always in trouble with a nun for taking my eyes off the altar.

 

As I grew older, I had questions. Like how come the Bible says that God told us to put no other Gods before Him, yet we were praying to Jesus’ mother, step father and a whole buffet of saints.

 

When I stopped being afraid of the nuns I started demanding answers to questions like these. But the nuns at my school wouldn’t answer the hard questions. They would make you feel stupid in front of the class for asking.

 

My last straw with the nuns came when I refused to believe that wearing a scapula would automatically send you to heaven if you died while wearing one. My question to the nun that day was what if while Hitler was sleeping, someone slipped a scapula around his neck and then he died without knowing he was wearing it.

 

I caught her off guard and while I believe she should have had an answer, getting stumped by an eighth grader really made her angry. I was sent to the principal who was also a nun and again, no answers were given.

 

In high school we had one nun but she was a different order. Her advice to us in my religion class was to forget everything the Dominican nuns had taught us.

 

That made me mad. I had just spent 8 years duking it out with the nuns for nothing it seemed.

 

That’s when I started to question it all.

 

That’s when I started a slow and downward spiral into the life of Godlessness where I wound up eventually on drugs and sleeping with many women, stealing and none of it bothered me for a second because I had become an immoral and selfish person. All my Catholic education had taught me was how to ignore God.

 

Many years later I married a woman I thought I was destined to marry. We had a child together. I felt complete but something was missing. I filled that emptiness with drinking which led me to cheat on my wife. After she left me and took my precious daughter away, I sank to the lowest point of my life.

 

Through that darkness my mother kept in touch with me and kept saying things like, “Turn to God” which I laughed at. Hearing that kind of advice was ridiculous to me.

 

I felt suicidal.

 

One morning I went for a walk. I was so depressed. I was sick with it. I was reviewing my life choices and I had just had enough.

 

I stood still and looked up into the sky and verbally asked God to take over. I told Him I was tired of screwing everything I ever did up. I begged Him to come and fix me. I started crying and begging and all these deep buried issues started to bubble up and I might have been babbling and choking through tears and sobs but after a few minutes, God showed up. I felt His presence.

 

God fixed me on the spot. I felt hope and had a knowledge that everything was going to be ok. I had been forgiven. God had just made me a brand new man.

 

That’s when I started to see all those times in my life that were the darkest, He was right there with me. God was always there, even though I had totally ignored Him, he never left my side.

 

I started going to a Baptist church near my house.

 

My wife came back.

 

I started reading the Bible.

 

I began seeking God more and more and my life just kept turning around.

 

I still attend a Baptist church, but I believe His love is bigger than even my church could understand.

 

I feel like they get hung up on social issues like homosexuality when adultery would be a better choice in a church full of straight people. Plus, in the Bible, Jesus explains the three type of men who don’t marry women.

 

In Matthew 19 he says…

A.) they’re born that way. (homosexuals)

B.) they’re made that way by others. (eunuchs who were castrated)

C.) they choose to live that way for the Kingdom of Heaven. (celibates)

 

I prayed for God to show me in the Bible where Jesus talked about gay people and I found that passage.

 

To me it’s plain and simple, where churches continue to drive people away with Old Testament lessons, Christ opened his arms to anyone that sought Him.

 

I know in my heart that God wants me to learn more and spread His message of love, and I intend to.

* * * * * * * * * *

We were very happy to ordain him and he is now Rev. Crankshaw.

Start Your Own Church, Ministry, Spiritual Healing / Counseling Practice

Found a Church or Spiritual Healing Counseling Center Become ordainedWe help you become an ordained minister, so that you can found your own Church or ministry, start a Spiritual Healing Counseling Center, Incorporate as a church and become tax-exempt, thus being able to accept donations for your spiritual services.

For two decades now the Seminary has helped clergy get ordained and start their own churches and spiritual counseling / healing practices. Online here since 1999 we help you with all the paperwork to become ordained legally in three easy steps. You can then start the spiritual teaching and counseling, accept donations, and do the clergy work you have always felt called to do.

When ordained by us you become a wedding officiant at the same time, and can perform a wedding or weddings. You will have the legal ability to officiate marriages in all 50 states.

Some of our graduates have set up their own online and telephone spiritual counseling service (for example on Keen dot com) to compliment their live in-person house church, wedding chapel or ministry. A few have established spiritual healing centers where people come for all manner of spiritual services.

There is a great need in our uncertain times for alternative clergy, spiritual practitioners, ministers, rabbis, and anyone who can provide the public with the spiritual services mainstream churches, temples and synagogues deny them because they are not a member.

The Seminary also offers religious doctorate degrees such as the PhD in Religion, Metaphysics, the Doctor of Divinity, and Doctor of Theology (Th.D.) to those who want to enhance their minister credentials with a degree and the status of spiritual doctor. Free ordination with every degree if you are already not an ordained minister or other clergy.

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.

Sincerely,

Bishop Katia

Free Online Minister Manual

Bishop James, our Dean of Students at the Seminary, found this link to the New Minister’s Manual.  He writes: It is an excellent resource. As with many internet resources, shelf life is unpredictable, and you should save it if you are interested. +James   http://www.vfwofwa.org/Announcements/state_chaplain/ministers_manual.pdf

He means the manual above is currently a free PDF, but we don’t know how long the authors will continue to so generously make it available.

Several of the ministers and clergy in our network of graduates, including me, immediately downloaded and started to use this new manual. One ordained minister pointed out the manual is not as inclusive as it could be, is Christian-only, not Interfaith.  She made a good point.

minmanualFor the past twenty plus years as we ordain ministers, rabbis and other clergy of all callings and faiths, we offer them the Interfaith Minister Manual pictured right.  I think both these minister manuals are a good addition to one’s library. Now that I think about it, I should photograph my shelf of clergy manuals here at the Seminary. This “collection” compiled over the past quarter century now takes up two shelves on their own, and that does not include all the other liturgy and ceremony / ritual books. Does anyone else “collect” minister manuals? We have long considered putting a minister manual online somehow, or at least a compilation of religious ceremonies, rites of passage, etc.  We used to have some nice funeral ceremony “templates” and of course a bunch of wedding ceremonies online back in 1999 and 2000 when the Seminary first went online. Wonder what happened to those.

So many of our clergy create their own ceremonies these days that not too many want to follow along a set “script”.  However, doing so is much easier when you can cut and paste, pick and choose elements from a  minister manual or wedding ceremonies you find online.  With the help of the bride and groom, a wedding officiant usually customizes the ceremony by using all these minister tools.  That reminds me of one of the little known ancient meanings of the word ordination.  It means “to have the tools placed in hand” by the Divine.  In the Hebrew Bible (Christian Old Testament) we find the first use of the word ordination. God would ordain priests, clergy, etc. by placing “tools” of the ministry in their hands.   They were empowered, ordained, set to work.  Our formal Certificate of Ordination uses an old turn of phrase, “Ordained to the work of ______________ Minister”. The minister or clergy title such as Interfaith Minister, Chaplain, Spiritual Minister, Rabbi, Priest goes in there.

Being clergy is a special kind of work (with tools handed down from on High!). Some would say it is the Great Work.

+Katia