One of our ordained ministers is embarking soon on a cruise ship and needs a Letter of Good Standing from us to serve as clergy. He will offer spiritual services during the cruise to passengers and crew, officiate a wedding or two, and even distribute Communion. While preparing his special letter, we came across this nifty priesthood manual for priests who have a full-time ministry on a cruise ship.
The Ordained Minister, Rabbi or Priest serve at the “altar” before the Divine, just like Angels do at heaven’s altar. Such clergy also help a couple getting married to connect, to uplink, with the Divine when they properly officiate their marriage / perform a wedding.
Judaism and Christianity both teach that altar servers, be they ordained as a minister or rabbi here on earth are counterparts to “the host of angels that attend to the Heavenly banquet.”
The Greek Bible (New Testament) shows us scenes of angels standing before the altar in heaven, holding a golden incense burner, officiating as a priest or minister. I wonder if angels ever officiate a wedding, perhaps a sacred marriage at the heavenly altar?
Clergy Can Perform a Wedding in a Special Way
An esoteric teaching regarding weddings is if the minister or Rabbi will perform the wedding just right, in accordance with their faith tradition’s mysteries both inner and outer, then the couple standing under the huppah (Judaism) or at the altar or before the clergy-person, are transported to the heavenly altar and the Divine enters into the marriage with them.
Couples want an Ordained Minister or Rabbi, not a secular officiant
This is of course the whole reason people want an ordained minister or Rabbi to perform their wedding in the first place and not just a civic authority, justice of the peace, or someone with no spiritual inclincation. There is a spiritual element to a marriage, and the vast majority of couples worldwide know this instinctively and seek out clergy to help them connect with the Divine on their special day.
Become Ordained and Officiate Weddings in all 50 States
We have been ordaining ministers, Rabbis, priests and multi-faith interfaith clergy of all kinds for over 25 years. Our ordained clergy perform weddings nearly every day — at least somewhere in the USA.
Alternative clergy is one thing, but what about alternative lifestyles? One of our recent ordained ministers asked what the Esoteric Interfaith Church’s policy is regarding gay marriage, aka same-sex marriage. He has been asked to officiate a same-sex wedding next month.
The church has always believed that ordination does not mean we control your every move, in fact we encourage autonomy and the founding of your own church. If you are asked to officiate a same-sex wedding in a state where it is legal, that is fine. As long as you are not breaking the laws of the land, you are in good standing with the church / seminary. But what about the laws of the Bible?, some have asked.
Below are some links proving that the Bible does NOT condemn homosexuality, does not call it an abomination. As you read the proof, keep in mind these facts from the scientific and medical fields:
Homosexuality sometimes runs in families, as LGBT people will tell you. Science has proven it has genetic elements. Just google “gay gene”.
Teenagers and pre-teens who have never been sexually active realizing they’re gay when they constantly have crushes on members of their same gender proves humans are born with their sexual orientation. It is not a “learned” behavior.
Here are the links:
The Bible Does NOT Condemn Homosexuality
Wedding Season 2015 is here! Busy time for Ordained Clergy
Wedding Season started early this year — in April instead of late May. We have done several ordinations this month for people who have been asked to perform a marriage. Two became an ordained minister, one we ordained as a rabbi, and another needed to become a chaplain. We do all the paperwork, and the new clergy member is legal to perform marriages / weddings in all 50 states. One newly ordained minister will likely officiate a same-sex wedding / marriage, next month, he says, which is now legal in his state so we don’t have a problem with it. If you need speedy and legal ordination so that you can start your ministry or wedding service, we can help you immediately. Just follow the steps on the Ordination Page and get ordained today. Rabbis have a separate ordination page, at the Seminary Rabbi Center. Credentials are shipped out within 24 hours if you have a wedding, we can even scan and email a copy to you immediately. We also help you on the day of the wedding to complete the clergy section of the marriage license brought to you by the bride and groom.
The Season to Graduate with a Religious Seminary Degree
This is also the time of year for graduation ceremonies. The Seminary is bestowing several degrees in April, May and June, perfect graduation dates! We are conferring a Ph.D. in Spiritual Counseling, a Doctor of Divinity, a Ph.D. in Pastoral Counseling and a Doctor of Theology.
And oh yes, a Ph.D. in Metaphysics,
one of our more popular degrees — many people feel called to become metaphysicians and serve their community with a spiritual healing / counseling practice.
Mustn’t Forget the Seminary Masters and Bachelors degree candidates
who will get their degrees this week, including one whose family is hosting a graduation ceremony for him at home with cap and gown and the works. His wife will present the diploma from us during the ceremony.
Get Your Religious, Spiritual Seminary Degree Immediately
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.
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.
Well, 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.
One of our ordained ministers is performing a wedding in New York and asked if I had any good wedding blessings. Google reveals not only some lovely wording, but some very beautiful wedding / marriage blessing posters suitable for framing. I thought this would be a great gift for the minister to give to the bride and groom along with their marriage license / certificate. You can use the wording in the wedding ceremony and then give them a framed copy of these gorgeous blessings with the same words. There are Irish wedding blessings, Apache aka Indian wedding blessing (also called the Apache Wedding Prayer), Jewish wedding blessings, Celtic, Interfaith, even Dr. Seuss wedding blessings! (The latter is great to use if you have children involved in the wedding).