Seminary Program

This is where we post the essays from many of our Universal Life Church Seminary students. When students finish a ULC course, they write a comprehensive essay about their experiences with the course, what they learned, didn't learn, were inspired by, etc. Here are their essays.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Final Essay on the course for Dr. of Spirituality: Rev. Loretta Siani

Now usually one writes about the content of a course and what one learns. But my personal experience while taking this course showed me its value to me and what I learned became reality. I share this personal experience as my essay on the power of this thought and what I was able to see in my own case. I hope it shows what I have learned and how it worked through my saga.

So I start by saying I have had an interesting time during the passage of time of taking this course. The lessons learned were complex and I am still dwelling on the elements placed in front of me in the course on Spirituality. For during this time, my personal life has been challenged in my heart. I have lost the life of my hero, my father, who succumbed at 87 years old and my mother was injured in the family home while my dad was fighting for his known life in the hospital. My dad lived long enough at, I hope my urging, to celebrate his 87th birthday and then when at the sickest moment he lived to see in my parent's 65th wedding anniversary one month later.

Now one could ask me what happened during this time and how this course worked for me? Well, an hour before their anniversary day came to be I was with my father at 11:03 p.m. Dad coded and there was a DNR note. However, due to some confusion in the directive, they revived him. I prayed like never before in my life for him to pull through to be able to be alive for he and mom to reach such a huge day of value and meaning for them. Dad was on a ventilator, suffering the beginning of renal failure and he was a victim of pneumonia, heart failure, renal shutting down and blood septicemia, just to mention the most important issues.

Although he was in what was a drug induced state, I held his hand and told him it was okay and that if he wanted to God would let him live long enough to reach such a huge momentous occasion of 65 years of wedded bliss.

Well, I need not tell anyone who has taken this course that I opened my soul to God and told my dad to do the same. The nurses told me they knew he could hear me and he did it,  although never opening his eyes. I cleared myself of all self interest and just prayed. And so the miracle was given to me and my parents. Something no one else probably understood or even cared about, but I was granted such through the grace of the Almighty for opening myself to pure love and affection to the most important person in my life and my hero to boot. I did not ask for me, I asked that God give my dad this one gift and miracle when all the odds were against it and he was basically going to leave his human form. Somehow, it happened and he celebrated his anniversary with just me in the room. My mom was in a rehab facility with a broken vertebra as she slipped while alone in their home and dad was in the hospital. So she could not be there to share in this blessed event. With open heart and all love I had, I let God guide my words to my father to hang in to make it to the day he married my mom.  There was no reason why this happened. I just prayed and gave myself to God's hand.

Three days later I again was alone in my father's hospital room and he was now in renal shut down and going to die naturally. It was about 2:10 p.m. that I felt something inside while visiting my mother. I told her I had to go and see dad. So I drove the few miles to his room and once again I saw that this was his time to join the life in God's arms. I went to his side and told him to fear not as he was in God's hands now and that he had met his mission of life here on earth and it was okay as he had succeeded at everything he had wanted and it was time for him to find his peace. Of course, this was in prayer, but it was prayer aloud for him to hear and for me again to give of myself and let my dad be given continuing life with God as his holder. I could see that his body was giving up and he took two breaths as I spoke to him and asked him to let God enter his heart to guide him further in everlasting life. Well, there was no fear, no pain and no tears, but he calmly took those two breaths and turned his head a bit and then he was on his way to what stood in front of him forever.

I sat in his room for two and a half hours and the nurses cleaned him up and removed all of the tubes and such. They combed his hair and placed his hands and arms across his abdomen with his wedding ring finger on top of his other hand. I should note that this is so hard to write through my tears as I complete this essay. I was trying to think of how to show what I found out of this course. But, while taking it, the contents found me and provided me with what I needed to handle this process of loosing the most revered person I have ever known.

I prayed continuously for dad to fight when needed and he did so and then I prayed for God to enter his body and cure him of his earthly illness and take him with open arms to his new life. I found the fear I had of seeing him go was nothing. I had prayed for God to help and guide me through the process I was experiencing. I asked for nothing but for God within me to guide my heart and soul/mind to accept this happening. I guess I can say without reservation that the element of the course were not coincidental to my needs for love and to let that miraculously happen. And so it did! I do not know how I was given such strength and guidance, but it came and it came through prayer as the course so indicates and I was given the gift of such. Now it is a month past and I still wonder how I was given such a course and what brought me to take it at the time I did. I did not know in advance hat was waiting for me. I read the course lessons earnestly and took all I could and as things unveiled in front of me I tried my best to use them so I could handle what was given to me. I guess God just decided I needed my miracle and provided me a vehicle to read to help me understand how to find it.

Now I had to speak at one of my dearest friend's funerals back in January when I first started taking the course.  I thought I did good for the family of my departed friend and colleague and was given various accolades for such a meaningful tribute to a man who I cared about like a brother. But, I had not yet reached the spot of using it for more and now I find I can give so much more to those in need by prayer and the gift of God's graces within.

So that is my story about this course. I was going to delineate all of the various lines and sections as I found them relevant, but they found their way into my reality and I hope this summary of events in my life, shows the value I found in this course and its contents. I found things about me I did not know existed within and I do believe that miracles can happen through prayer and love… and God gave them to my father, who by the way was not a particularly religious man. But, as these events unfolded, I kept telling him to realize the God and Great Spirit within himself. And, I found the love and miracles in my heart that were there with God within me….

Amen and thank you for this course!


Adam Rocke, Reverend


Ordination with the Universal Life Church, is free,  and lasts for life, so use the Free Online Ordination, button.

The  ULC, run by Rev. Long, has created a chaplaincy program to help train our ministers. We also have a huge catalog of Universal Life Church materials.  I've been ordained with the Universal Life Church for many years and it's Seminary since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Comparative Religion

Gaining a Global Perspective
Final Essay for the Master of Comparative Religion Course
By Rev. Daniel L. Moore

            The world is changing.  The United States is becoming less and less a "Christian" nation.  Neighborhoods that used to be predominantly Protestant, Catholic, or Jewish are now receiving those who are Muslim, Buddhist, or Hindu.  Further, there has been an increase in interest in older religions such as Wiccan and various types of paganism.

            As a minister, I believe we must be able to work with those of other faiths.  We can easily go into our own religious or denomination corner with the idea of separation for "purity" sake or we can actively engage all we come into contact with.  Religions that emphasize conversion require its followers to "go into the world and make disciples of all nations."  But to do so does require some knowledge of the other religions.  

            This course is an absolute necessity for any minister of any faith.  As the communities and work places become more mixed, we need to be aware of the differences and similarities between the various religions.  Further, as a part-time Protestant chaplain I encounter people seeking guidance who are not Christian.  So this course comes to me as a welcome addition to my education.

            One of the strengths of this course was the wealth of resources I was directed to.  I was able to find many of the various sacred texts needed to study.  I have been studying these other texts in between lessons to help me gain a broader understanding of the world's religions.

            This course was very in-depth in content.  I realize that this was a very challenging task for the course developer to take on.  The material and the scope of this subject are such that it is possible to make two courses to cover a total of 40 weeks between the two.  I must congratulate Rev. Kythera Ann for her ability to put together such comprehensive course and avoid the temptation of just skimming a topic here and there.

            The illustrations given in each lesson were very helpful.  They added "flavor" to the lessons.  Along with the illustrations were the many scholarly quotes and footnotes that I found useful as well.  The charts were all helpful.  For me, I like to see things as part of my learning style.  Having a chart gives me something to evaluation in a simple, direct fashion.  The chart in lesson 20 was real illuminating to me.

            One criticism I have of this course is the occasional website links provided were broken.  This is not the fault of the course developer.  The Internet is dynamic place with new sights being posted, old ones being updated, and some being deleted.  The one recommendation I would have is that this course's links be reviewed quarterly.  Also, I would recommend the first lesson include some administrative instructions about notifying ULC about links that are broken or no longer active.  This is the only criticism I have.

            I highly recommend this course to any minister of any religion.  I would also encourage Rev. Kythera Ann to develop other courses and would be happy to study the material.  Blessings to all who take this course.

Ordination with the Universal Life Church, is free,  and lasts for life, so use the Free Online Ordination, button.

As a long time member of ULC, Rev. Long created the seminary site to help train our ministers. We also have a huge catalog of Universal Life Church  materials.  I've been ordained with the Universal Life Church for many years and it's since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Metaphysical Healing

By Rev. Rose Palaez
    From the introduction phase of metaphysical healing to the ending lesson of this course has been knowledgeable to me. I will begin by saying that learning the techniques that go hand in hand and the step by step of the physical works before studying the esoteric physiology, have given me an extended insight of what and how metaphysical healing came about and how it is interpreted.

          With that in mind I enjoyed every single lesson, the human energy fields which teaches about the chakras and how the aura is an extension of the physical body was absolutely something extremely new and interesting. Getting ready and learning to use the universal energy field and experimenting in with my self was a new experience and enjoyed every minute of it. Learning of other healing methods allowed me to understand why different culture does what they do.

    In all truthfulness there is no lesson in this course that was boring per say or of no interest. Once more I will reiterate that learning the power of energy to heal is an out of the ordinary process that should be learned by every one. I wanted to investigate the techniques for my self and for my own breath of knowledge. I have been healed before by my mother-in-law that have the gift of energy healing with out the proper training or literature. That is more the reason why I was brought to the website which lead me to start the course my self.

    With this course, I must say that I have been educated that in this matchless world that we are in, that illness of countless people lies in the emotional mental field. Metaphysical healing has brought to my attention that we can give attention to illness beyond just the physical symptoms. That the cure is in the hand of the healer beside medical field lays the valuable and unrestricted universe with the energy for all of us to have.

          I am obligated to say that all that is needed is taught in this course; however there is always space for us human being to increase our awareness a bit more than we think.
I have experienced that with self healing motivation one can come out of any illness. Particularly if one has sufficient faith in the energy of the universe which can freely be provided us all without limitation.

Best wishes and May the positive energy of the universe be with you.


Ordination with the Universal Life Church, is free,  and lasts for life, so use the Free Online Ordination, button.

As a long time member of ULC, Rev. Long created the seminary site to help train our ministers. We also have a huge catalog of Universal Life Church  materials.  I've been ordained with the Universal Life Church for many years and it's since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.

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The Unvarnished Gospels

"The Unvarnished Gospels"
Mark A. Weinstein
One of the primary and most prominent things as a theological student that I have come to learn is that people interpret the Bible to meet their needs.  This is not to say that they purposely distort gospel for personal benefits, but it can rather be likened to wearing goggles underwater.  What I mean is this; while sight does remain when donning the goggles and going underwater, the vision is cloudy.  So too are people's perceptions when it comes to understanding the true intent of the Bible.  Because we as humans carry with us a large amount of baggage, we often see situations through a fog.  This fog works on everything we see, hear, and learn, and only in its context do we take in new information.  Hence, the word interpret comes into play.  Four letter words are wrong and should never be used in public that is my thought exactly when I hear the word interpret in conjunction with the Bible.
            People will do one of several things to "interpret" the Bible to fit their needs.  First, they simply pick out a word or two that meets their situation, and use it as a foundation for their actions.  Nothing wrong with this mind you, except that the truth is often times lost when this is done.  Secondly, they put off the meaning that they do extract from the text as simply being outdated, or caused by a language barrier.  Again, to each his own, but to play off changing the intent of scripture to an inability to truly comprehend the intended Truth is simply laziness.  If you don't understand the intent, study and learn.  Finally, we have those who profess that only portions of the text are really God spoken, with some simply being the thoughts, wishes, and direction of the author (not God but the actual writer).  To these I say, "Which brick do you take from a foundation and hope to maintain the integrity of the building?"  How can we decide which of God's words to remove from the Bible and still insure that we have kept its intent?  In the end Christ himself told us that we are either with Him or against Him, nothing in between.
            To that end, I make my segue to the text at hand.  The Unvarnished Gospels (UVG) addresses these aforementioned conditions in a way that I have not seen before.  Many translations of the Bible go a long way in helping one understand the true intent, but this book takes it one step further.  When reading this text there is no difficulty in understanding, a need to dig deep for jewels of content, or struggle to understand outdated contexts.  One can simply sit down, enjoy the content, and truly gain an understanding of the Word of God and He intended.  I am thankful to have read this book and will undoubtedly use this text for reference far into the future.  There were many instances during the reading of this book that I might say was an "AHAA" moment; I will mention just a few.
            One thing that many struggle with is whether Christ came to judge, be judged, or save.  Yes, is the final answer.  Many times in my choice of translations, the KJV, it is difficult to decipher Christ's words due to the language it is written in and with.  The UVG takes away that barrier and in plain, understandable, and infallible, language tells us that Christ came not to judge, but to be judged, yet He will be that by which others will be compared.  We must come to Christ or spend an eternity in Hell, end of point.  There is no argument against this point when read in the plain text put forth here.  Christ came to give us eternal salvation and only through his death and resurrection can that be a possibility. 
            A second point that is often argued is that of eating the Bread of Life.  Some argue that this is symbolic and open to all; others that this is actual and therefore one must be righteous do partake.  This is the first text that I know of that explains Christ's words in a way that makes it indisputable.  Symbolically we take of the sacraments in honoring all that Christ gave for us and in professing our commitment to Him and His ways.  Of course we cannot be righteous prior to accepting, or many times after taking, the Body of Christ, that is exactly the idea.  If we were righteous then there would be no need for Christ to have given His life and suffered in death for us.  Only because this book is so well written can one put to rest this age-old argument. 
            There are so many more things that come to light as one reads this book, more than I can remember.  What I will do is keep this book handy as I prepare my sermons so that this vivid and clear perspective is always available to shed some Light on whatever subject I choose to explore.  I applaud you for a well written book and class; one that I would recommend to others should I be asked.    


Ordination with the Free Online Ordination button.

The  ULC, run by Rev. Long, has created a chaplaincy program to help train our ministers. We also have a huge catalog of Universal Life Church materials.  I've been ordained with Seminary since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Christian History

Christian History
An evaluation of the Synod of Whitby (AD 664) with reference to the political and historical context of contemporary Northumbria.

by Rev. Graham Louden, M.A., Dip.Ed. (Oxon), B.A., A.C.P., (Hon.) D.D.

It has long been traditional amongst historians of the period to represent the Synod of Whitby and its outcome as a momentous event in English history and a definitive turning point in the identity and allegiance of the English church. This interpretation of the Synod has endured over the centuries to the extent that, only recently, the historian Patrick Wormald expressed his frustration trenchantly in the following paragraph written in 2005'  From the days of George Buchanan, supplying the initial propaganda for the makers of the Scottish kirk, until a startlingly recent date, there was warrant for the anti-Roman, anti-episcopal and, in the nineteenth century, anti-establishment stance in the Columban or 'Celtic' church…..The idea that there was a 'Celtic Church' in something of a post-Reformation sense, is still maddeningly ineradicable from the minds of students.'

This enduring interpretation may well be due to the limited scope and intent of the source material available and also to the desire of ecclesiastical historians over the centuries to give primacy to the overarching theme of the evolution of the church universal and its relentless expansion. Any detailed account of the Synod derives almost exclusively from that provided by the Venerable Bede in his Historiam Ecclesiastical Gentis Anglorum completed in 731 supplemented by a hagiographical Life of Wilfred written by Eddius Stephanus (Stephen of Ripon) around 710. Both of these works were written at some distance although Bede did have access to the the work by Eddius and is also said to have known surviving participants in the synod such as Acca of Hexham whom he described as the 'dearest of all prelates upon earth', It is also possible that Bede's reputation and stature as an historian, to an extent the 'father' of history, has come to overshadow and repress informed scrutiny of the Synod. Bede's insistence on the importance of accurate chronology wherever possible, his elegant and stylish deployment of the Latin language, his faithful attribution of sources and his ability to blend homiletic material seamlessly into the narrative all mark him out as a biblical scholar and historian of renown but his work was intended as an 'ecclesiastical' history and it would not be surprising if he had been minded to give additional prominence to those events which he considered important staging posts in the advancement of the church. The Paschal controversy was, indeed, an issue in which Bede, as a biblical scholar, especially interested himself and had addressed in his works, De Temporibus (703) and De Temporum Ratione (725).

A corrective to the assumption that Bede's account of the Synod is accepted as being an accurate record of the proceedings may be found in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, prepared around 891 in the time of Alfred which, curiously, makes no mention of the Synod; instead, both the Parker Chronicle and the Laud Chronicle include the same entry for the year 664, viz. 'Colman with his companions went to his native land' but provide no explanation for this happening although interestingly, the year 671 was noted as the year of 'the great mortality of birds'! Given the quantity of material pertaining to Northumbrian history that is detailed in the Chronicle, this omission does appear odd if the Synod was contemporaneously regarded as a pivotal moment.

In general, historical events involve a complex mixture of antecedents, motivation and personalities. The Synod of Whitby needs to be studied and understood against a background of political instability in Northumbria and parallel uncertainty in the sphere of shifting religious allegiance. The kingdom of Northumbria had come into being after the victory of Aethelfrith at the Battle of Degsastan. After his death, he was succeeded by Edwin of Deira (a Roman Christian) and the Bernician dynasty founded by Aethelfrith was forced to take refuge in Pictish and Scottish territory where many were baptised into the 'Celtic' Christian faith practised by their hosts.

In 633, the Bernician prince Oswald regained the throne and turned to Iona for help with the conversion of his people. Aidan and a small band of monks responded and founded a monastery at Lindisfarne; later they were joined by many more Scottish monks and began to extend their missionary activity into Mercia (where the baptism of Peada in 653 was a signal success) and the East Saxon lands. Their work was zealous and effective and it is well nigh impossible to say how much of the conversion of the English was achieved by Roman or Celtic missions. The pure and ascetic life style of the Celtic missionaries was greatly admired and contrasted strongly with the organisation and panoply of the Roman church with its growing desire for universal authority. The Celtic church had been largely isolated from Rome for 150 years and was possibly offended by the assumptions and perceived arrogance of the papacy as indicated in the attitude of Augustine towards Celtic bishops whom Pope Gregory had described (probably out of ignorance) as 'unlearned, weak and perverse'.

Nevertheless, by the mid-seventh century, the Roman church had come to realise the value of uniformity and of a universal church ruled from Rome and felt that the existence of a powerful group of Christians who did not acknowledge papal supremacy could no longer be tolerated Already, too, some in the Celtic church were beginning to realise that they could not ignore indefinitely the benefits of closer linkage with Rome and an emergence from their isolation.In addition, Roman practices were steadily advancing northwards as a result of the activities of Augustine of Canterbury. In 633, the southern Irish had accepted the Roman method for calculating Easter while these practices were often introduced into the Celtic sphere of influence as a result of trade, travel and exile. A prime example of this was the wife of King Oswiu, Eanfled, who had been removed to Kent during the reign of Oswald but returned on her marriage to Oswiu with her Roman entourage and customs. This precipitated a crisis at court where it became necessary to celebrate Easter twice at different times. By this time, the saintly Aidan was dead and, without the constraint of his presence, it seemed appropriate to resolve this anomaly by means of a Synod at which advocates of both persuasions would argue the case before the king after which he would rule on the issue. The occasion was the Synod of Whitby in 664 (or 663 according to Stenton chronology).

Bede's account of the proceedings at Whitby suggest a stylised and highly civilised debate which is not altogether convincing given the controversial nature of the issues and the heat which such matters could generate. One has only to study the records of debates involving Martin Luther at the time of the Reformation to discern the passion and polemic that they could engender. At Whitby, the Celtic persuasion was represented by king Oswiu, bishop Cedd of the East Saxons, the Abbess Hild at whose monastery at Streanaeshalch the meeting was held and Colman, bishop of Lindisfarne who acted as their spokesman. The Roman party comprised Alchfrith son of Oswiu and sub-king of Deira, Agilberht , bishop of the West Saxons, James the Deacon and Wilfrid of Ripon who was then ruling a monastic community at Ripon. Alchfrith's motives in playing a prominent role in the summons of the synod are not touched upon but it is, perhaps, legitimate to speculate that he wished to enhance his power within the kingdom and considered that closer links with Rome and the patronage of the ambitious Wilfrid would forward his ambitions.

In the course of the debate as contained in Bede's historical narrative, the two principal advocates, Colman and Wilfrid, both argued forcefully that their method of calculating Easter was based upon worthy precedent. According to Colman, the Celtic practice could be traced back to the apostle John to which Wilfrid retorted that the Roman practice had been handed down by both Peter and Paul and had been followed from the outset by their churches. He also argued that, even if it were the case that John had used the Celtic practice, this would have been only a provisional dispensation to suit a particular congregation at a particular period in the evolution of the church. From the historical perspective, it is quite clear that both practices had co-existed for some centuries but that the tide was already turning in favour of the Roman method. The calculation of Easter involved a complicated system intended to reconcile the solar and lunar years by means of a cycle of years. At various times, cycles of 8, 11, 19 and 84 years had been used for this purpose and it seems probable that the tables based upon an 84-year cycle had been brought to Britain by Celtic bishops who had attended the Council of Arles in 314. In 455, Rome accepted and ordered the use of the 19 year cycle as advocated by Victorius of Acquitaine and this was implemented by those parts of England controlled by Canterbury and, after 633, by the southern Irish. Clearly, by the time of the Synod, there was absolutely no possibility that the Celtic tradition could supplant the Roman within the wider church and this was underlined by Wilfrid in the speech attributed to him when he stressed the folly of resisting the authority of St.Peter and refusing to follow the example of all the rest of Christendom. Although Bede states that the only point at issue in the Synod was date of celebrating Easter (and the tonsure issue), the fact that he records Wilfrid as emphasising this wider context and significance, suggests that he was fully aware of the implications of any decision on the Celtic branch of the church. Wilfrid's 'triumph' was based upon two main points: firstly, he referred to contemporary practice and pointed out that even the followers of the apostle John now celebrated Easter according to the Roman fashion and, secondly, he rebutted Colman's question as to how such holy men as Columba and Anatolius could have erred so greatly as claimed over the Easter dating by stating that Peter, as the rock on which the church is built and the keeper of the keys, must be a superior authority. Oswiu reportedly turned to Colman and asked whether he could say properly attribute any similar authority to Columba; Colman's 'nihil' was conclusive and Oswiu ruled in favour of the Roman practice saying that he would not risk a hostile reception from Peter himself at the gates of heaven. After a brief visit to Lindisfarne to bid farewell to his community, Colman and his fellow monks returned to Ireland where they could still practice their religion according to their preference. The 'Roman' victory was complete.

The scale of this victory, however, is debatable as Oswiu's decision applied only to Northumbria and many decades were required for the complete implementation of the Roman ways. At the centre, York immediately supplanted Lindisfarne as the episcopal centre of Northumbria with Wilfrid as its bishop (664-78) but even within the kingdom and more so beyond the borders, the process of Romanisation was slow and painstaking. Britain was a complex patchwork of shifting kingdoms (twelve existed around 600 AD) with disputed boundaries and frequent changes of ruler. Strenuous efforts and reforming zeal were required to extend the Roman mandate throughout the lands and much of this work was carried out by Wilfrid, Theodore of Tarsus and Benedict Biscop. Their especial concern was the lack of effective leadership at a time (669) when only three men were known to have been in bishop's orders in the whole of England. The Synod of Hertford, summoned by Theodore in 672 issued a number of canons relating to the conduct of bishops, in particular enjoining them to remain within their sees and concentrate on their duties.

After 669, Theodore appointed a number of new bishops (initially to Winchester, Dunwich and Rochester and then proceeded to create new sees at North Elmham, Worcester, Hereford and Lindsey to supplement the existing ones. This work was the key to disseminating the messages of Whitby and Hertford and the broader thrust of the Roman establishment. Paradoxically, it was in Northumbria that the task was most difficult due to the stubborn stance of Wifrid who opposed any diminution of his immense power as sole bishop of Northumbria. A love of pomp and panoply which would not have disgraced Cardinal Wolsey centuries later, did not endear him to his contemporaries and he was twice expelled from Northumbria (in 677 and 691) and only half-heartedly supported by the Pope to whom he appealed on both occasions. The work of Romanisation proceeded, apace despite the distraction posed by Wilfrid who was often his own worst enemy; his first expulsion, for example came about when he persuade the king's beloved wife to retire to a convent, a triumph which, unsurprisingly was not pleasing to Ecgfrith ! Nevertheless, by the second decade of the eighth century, when Nechtan, king of the Picts enforced the recommended Easter tables on the Pictish Church after consultation with Ceolfrith, abbot of Monkwearmouth and Jarrow (Bede's home monastery), the authority of Rome was almost universally acknowledged, except for some areas of the north of Ireland. Iona, itself, had capitulated around 716 due to the efforts of Adamnan and Egbert.

The importance of Whitby, therefore, lies not so much in an immediate and wide-spread change of allegiance but in the clear message that it gave to the Celtic church that the tide was turning against it and that it faced a future of isolation and retreat accompanied by increasing pressure from the Roman church. Over the next fifty years, the Celtic church became more peripheral and, by its very nature, it was unable to organise itself with the same flair and zeal that was second nature to the Roman church. We cannot easily say what was the most important issue at the Synod of Whitby; to some, no doubt, it was the embarrassing schism at court, to others such as Alchfrith, it involved political maneuvering, for many it did focus upon the central issue of the celebration of Easter and, by extension, the universalist aspirations of the Roman pontiff.

Bede, himself, seems quite clear that the Easter controversy was the fons et origo of the Synod despite the fact that his own account alludes to the wider issue of a uniform doctrine and papal authority. Even his most distinguished editor,, Charles Plummer, in the introduction to his magisterial edition of 1896, professes himself puzzled by Bede's insistence on this point and a degree of unwonted asperity in his style. He writes, 'And yet we cannot help feeling that the question occupies a place in Bede's mind out of all proportion to its real importance. It is sad that he should think it necessary to pause in the middle of his beautiful sketch of the sweet and saintly character of Aidan to say that 'he much detests' his mode of keeping Easter; it is strange that he should apply to this question the words which St. Paul used with reference to such infinitely more important matters, expressing the fear lest he 'should run or have run in vain'…..But the holiest men have their limitations, and questions even less important have divided Christians ere now.'

Bede is a wonderful literary and historical source and starting point for any study of the Synod of Whitby but, as ever, it underlines the need, wherever possible, for the widest possible array of sources in order to arrive at a balanced verdict. The spread of the early church in Britain followed by the imposition of the Roman dispensation is a long and complex story further complicated by the plethora of kingdoms, the paucity of source material and the fragmented nature of society at the time. Without Bede, however, we would lack an introduction to this event, couched in impeccable Latin and underpinned by an unwavering desire to write truthfully for the benefit of posterity. At the very least, his account of the Synod is exactly how we would wish the event to have proceeded, in the spirit of Christian humility and informed debate.

Baedae Opera Historica, Plummer, Oxford 1896
Anglo-Saxon England, P. Hunter Blair, Cambridge 1962
Anglo-Saxon England, F.M.Stenton, Oxford History of England vol. II
Life of Bishop Wilfrid, B. Colgrave, OUP 1969

Rev. Graham Louden


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Monday, April 20, 2009

Spirit Quest

Spirit Quest – New Tools For My Journey
Rev. Daniel Moore

            I found this course to be very useful.  It took me to a new level in my spiritual journey.  I was exposed to different views on spirituality that did challenge and stretch me – all for the better.
            Centering was found to be very useful in my prayer and meditation skills.  I took a different center than the course.  Rather than center in the earth, I chose to center in Christ per John 15:4-5.  As I would center, I would focus on armor (Ephesians 6) rather than creating (and then destroying) roses.  Negatives were imagined as fiery arrows being quenched by the spirit.  Creating and destroying skills in the mind helped me in building up the spiritual muscle – submitting to the Spirit's power to create and destroy – not for evil but for good.

            Running my energy was very useful.  It has helped me clear out a lot of clutter in my mind when praying and in meditation [now if I can keep the clutter off my desk, I will have another victory].
            Creating your own reality was similar a skill I have developed along the way.  I call it visioning.  It is something we do as children in an unorganized or creative way.  With this course, I have gained every more skills in developing and improving this. 

            Healing is an area that I need to work on.  Forgiveness (one of the early lessons) is life-long learning skill.  Coupled with that, a positive, winning attitude goes a long way in the healing process.  Affirmations are also useful in healing and maintaining spiritual health for me.  The right word at the right time is a powerful tool.  The power of the word is often underestimated but in the spiritual realm – it can heal, turn situations around and bless. 
            Asking the right question is a skill we all need to develop.  "Why me?" is one of the most self-defeating questions a person can ask.  It is one of the walls a counselor needs to help the counselee to knock down.  It is teaching the person to let go the lies and grasp the truth.  The exercise in this lesson is powerful.  It teaches the strength of the truth over the lie.

            As I complete this course, I have seen a positive trend in my ministry.  I have not implemented any new programs.  I have simply meditated, created the reality, and focused on healing affirmations.  I kept myself grounded deeply.  Within the past six weeks, I have witnessed increased financing of the ministry, added several families to our congregation, baptized several more, and have more awaiting counsel. 


Ordination with the Universal Life Church, is free,  and lasts for life, so use the Free Online Ordination, button.

As a long time member of ULC, Rev. Long created the seminary site to help train our ministers. We also have a huge catalog of Universal Life Church  materials.  I've been ordained with the Universal Life Church for many years and it's since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Metaphysical Healing

    I had been surfing the net when I came across the seminary site and it was exactly what I had been seeking. The ULC provided a unique concept and idea. So, I got ordained right away in 1999 and have served as a Reverend and Minister of Peace since. It was personal achievement to be ordained and this really helped me to grow spiritually and it opened my mind to thirst for the truth. I've always been interested in the subconscious, conscience, man's true nature and the personality of man since I was child … looking for my true self you might say. Your course was of special interest to me so I took it. To me, it was a natural step to learn from the lessons offered.

     I've surpassed many ordeals since signing up for your course and I have invested time to go through the lessons and ponder. For a long time after my separation, I was wreck and totally out of balance. It felt like the ground beneath me had disappeared. I kept sinking into dark hole and eventually fell to my knees in pain and cried. My brother without one word just lightly touched my shoulder and I felt a sensation of warmth, love and peace.

It was a similar situation to what was mentioned in one of the lessons and now I understand what my brother did.  He used the "Laying of hands" whether he was aware or not.

     The information on your course brought many things to light and helped me in spiritual journey and has aided me in understanding what is meant by spiritual healing and energy fields. I find that I project a different way of being since reading and meditating on your information. The thing I like most about your course is that it has helped to become a more spiritual being with a new mindset. It has even reinforced proper nutrition and exercise for the physical.

    I would like to say it has taken me a while to send you this essay only because I kept getting side-tracked until now. I would like to share that your program was timely and it has helped me to become more open minded to energy fields and manifesting healing.

    I have always felt like plant and I grow when I learn and that's exactly what your program did for me. Though Many times, I found myself going off on tangent researching additional information and being baffled by how much there is to know … so many disciplines that intertwine. I noticed in my research that I was delving more into more holistic cures for disease. The spirit, mind and body present a plethora of disciplines and paths for practitioners.

      I personally found the Endocrine System very interesting as it relates to chakras.

     I was fascinated by a book I came across named "Adrenal Fatigue" by Dr. J. Wilson. I found it very informative plus it can be used as a scientific tool to aid in healing.  The book is a great read with contains self-help exercises.

    I am somewhat of an orator by nature and have also researched, as a hobby, information on NLP, general-semantics, Tarot, Birth Bio-Rhythms and Etymology. I find this other knowledge compliments your program beautifully. I realize and acknowledge the world is more than meets the eye. The concepts and ideas in the course also gave me a new drive and pragmatic exercises which have caused my new personal mission to be a personification of a gentle smile with eyes that can only project pure intention. On a more serious note I've started looking into becoming a Registered Massage Therapist or Personal trainer.

     The mix of your program, my life's learning keep directing me towards helping others.

     The Master of Metaphysical Healing lessons were great.

Rev. Pedro Vallejo


To ordain yourself with the Universal Life Church, for free, for life, right now, click on the Free Online Ordination link.

Rev. Long created the ULC seminary site to help ministers learn and grow their ministries. The Seminary offers a huge catalog of materials for ministers of the Universal Life Church

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Christian Studies

Christian Studies
The Reverend Richard Alan Helmersen D.D.
The Four Gospels, Final Essay

            Although my perception of God has changed through the years, on a personal level, I still find comfort in the notion of God as loving and caring regardless of the way we humans respond to that love.  I began my ministerial career more than thirty years ago with a sermon centered on the parable of the prodigal son, and the story still resonates with me today.  It is a simple illustration of the agape principle of love that requires nothing in return, and we can find practical applications in our life as we relate to others.

            Being a parent and a teacher of teenager's tests that principle daily.  Teens are going through great changes and frequently show little consideration toward authority figures or anybody else, yet as parents and teachers we are called to love and understanding regardless of the way our teens treat us.  Jesus' stories are powerful because they are real.  In this story, a young man shows a typical lack of consideration, yet his father allows him the freedom to explore and learn.  There is never a sense of anger, but only one of sadness that his son has chosen a difficult path.  As God loves us regardless of our actions, we need to respond in love rather than anger when our children behave in ways that are not thoughtful. 

            As is frequently the case with people who have made unwise choices, the young man lost all his money and found himself hungry and doing a job that was unacceptable to a Jew, caring for pigs, which would be considered unclean.  He soon came to his senses and returned to his father, hoping to be employed as a farm laborer, because he knew his father was fair and he would be better off working for him than starving in a foreign country dealing with unclean animals.

     As parents, we have to allow bad choices to have their normal consequences, allowing children to make mistakes and pay for those mistakes.  That doesn't mean that we shouldn't give good advice and encouragement, but teens don't always listen to that advice.  We don't know the path of our children and there may be lessons that need to be learned.  After giving the best advice and support we can, we have to turn them over to God.  God took care of the prodigal son and will take care of our children.  When they return to their senses, we need to be there for them as the father in the example was there for his son, and God is there for us.
            This story doesn't just apply to us as parents or teachers, but it can apply to all interactions during our busy days.  In everything we do, we need to respond to others in love rather than anger.  If God is personified as love and we are all children of God, every action we take reflects that family relationship.  We are in effect the eyes and ears, mouth, arms and legs, of God.  The Kingdom of God is among us and we are the ones to bring that about.  The only way that the Kingdom of God can become a reality in our lives is for us to behave out of love when responding to those around us who may not remember who they truly are.  When we respond in love, we create a better world.   Shalom.    


Ordination with the Universal Life Church, is free,  and lasts for life, so use the Free Online Ordination, button.

As a long time member of ULC, Rev. Long created the seminary site to help train our ministers. We also have a huge catalog of Universal Life Church  materials.  I've been ordained with the Universal Life Church for many years and it's since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.

Try our new free toolbar at: ULC Toolbar

Monday, April 13, 2009

Spirit Quest


Wow!! Where to begin? This course has helped me in so many ways that I am not sure where to even begin. I have only been "awake" for two years now and I have had wonderful angels to assist me. At the beginning they were human (and even now they are still with me but not to the extent they were at first).

Over the past few months, however, they have been more on a spiritual level. Granted, with this last lesson you mentioned a little more about the Spirit Guides. I guess I really should have asked you to go into more detail about them but time gets away from me and the next thing I knew, we were off on another topic. In any case, I have learned that Archangel Raphael is my special protector as he is the Patron of Healers.

One of the biggest things I have learned from this class is that I am meant to work in the healing arts of some sort. It has been reinforced that I am a Lightworker and recently I feel like I am being led in the direction of being an assistant in Cutting Cords. My Spirit Guides are not only here on this planet, but they also in the Universe and love to take me flying with them. On many of these excursions they have shown me the lovely colors of the Chakras. Even now, however, I still have trouble getting them aligned, remember the order they are in, and what they do. 

Another thing I have had to "deal" with is trying to figure out why you used a rose to blow things up. To me, a rose is a beautiful thing. Why would you want to blow something up that is so perfect? At first when it was time to blow the rose up, I would substitute it with the old fashion, cartoon type of bomb with the fuse sticking out of the top.  

By Rev. Carol Mayhall


The Universal Life Church is a comprehensive online seminary where we have classes in Christianity, Wicca, Paganism, two courses in Metaphysics and much more.

Ordination with the Universal Life Church, is free,  and lasts for life, so use the Free Online Ordination, button.We also offer many free wedding ceremonies for your use.

The  ULC, run by Rev. Long, has created a chaplaincy program to help train our ministers. We also have a huge catalog of Universal Life Church materials.  I've been ordained with the Universal Life Church for many years and it's Seminary since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.

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Friday, April 10, 2009


Shamanism Final Exam
Rev. Jean Pagano

I am not a shaman. I can never really be a shaman. In my opinion, there are two approaches to shamanism. One is to study and appreciate the history, development, and philosophy of the phenomenon called Shamanism. The other is to emulate what shamans do in order to approximate shamanism. The first of these approaches is rather easy – one puts one's mind to it, one does the research, and finally one obtains the knowledge and/or understanding. The latter of the two is much more difficult: how does one emulate a way of life that is so deeply entwined within a particular culture? By way of analogy, does a person become a Native American by emulating one? I do not think so.
            The term Paleo-Siberian, when relating to the Koryak and the Chukchee peoples, tells the whole of the story. The term "Paleo" suggests a prehistoric or early context. Paleo-Siberian shamanism is the earliest and simplest form of shamanism, and perhaps the purest form. Simple does not indicate simple-minded, but an uncomplicated approach. Shamanism is an animist religion which believes that everything is imbued with spirit and it is the shaman's job to interact with the spirits. This interaction is used to heal, to portend, and to guide.
            The shaman heals by interacting with the spirits in a non-ordinal reality. This non-ordinal reality is entered either by trance, by hallucinogenic drugs, or in a dream state. While in the non-ordinal reality, the shaman can see and reach the spirits that are causing illness or harm in an organism. The shaman can speak with the spirits that are at the root of the problem or the shaman may also extricate them from the individual that is being healed. The methodologies that the shaman employs are handed down from shaman to shaman across the many generations.
            The shaman may also portend the future. By entering into non-ordinal reality, once again, the shaman will use his/her relationship with the spirits to learn about the outcomes of some situation in this world. There is no guidebook for this interaction, but the shaman, over time, either learns to interpret these events, or has an a priori understanding of what is seen in the spirit world. 
            The shaman also acts as a guide – both in this world and in the spirit world. The shaman acts as a spirit counselor. A person may come to the shaman with a question about issues that are not related to health or to future events. The shaman then consults with the spirit world and gains an understanding of the situation and reports it back to the person seeking advice. Additionally, there may be occasions when spirits are lost, in this world or the next, and the shaman acts as a guide, helping them to find where they need to be.
            While these skills may not necessarily be unique to Paleo and Neo-Siberians, the approach and methodology is related to their culture. This is not to say that shamanism may not be found in other cultures – it surely is pan-cultural using different names – but, the approach used by the Paleo and Neo-Siberians is unique and has arisen in reaction to cultural paradigms and approaches that have developed over many generations. This is evident in the successions of shamans that are found in Neo-Siberian lineages where shamans are considered true shamans after nine generations of blacksmiths. Sadly, with the advent of modern technology and a distancing from traditional ways, I would venture to guess that the number of blacksmiths, shamans, and especially shamans that are blacksmiths, has greatly diminished.
            While I have voiced skepticism concerning the fact that one may just become a shaman, especially the New Age variety, I do believe that some may find themselves called to shamanism, especially if they experience the same events that gave rise to shamans in traditional cultures. I do believe that becoming a shaman is in response to a calling, not a desire. Shamanism seems to have developed in closely proximity to the natural world and must be exceptionally hard to manage in an industrialized or urban environment – in fact, it may be basically impossible to undertake and maintain in such an environment.
            This course is an exceptional course. I felt from the very beginning that perhaps the information presented over many of the twenty weeks was culled from a doctoral dissertation because of the in-depth analysis and scholarship of not only the material, but of the sources. I came into this course not knowing what to expect. I leave this course with a wealth of information that I will refer to time and again. This is truly a first-rate course and I would recommend it highly to anyone who is curious about shamanism from a scholarly perspective.


To ordain yourself with the Universal Life Church, for Free, for Life, right now, use the Free Online Ordination, button -- Click the link!

As a long time member of ULC, Rev. Long created the seminary site to help train our ministers. We also have a huge catalog of Universal Life Church materials.  As an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church for many years and it's Seminary since the beginning, I've enjoyed watching the continual growth of the seminary.

Try our new free toolbar at: ULC Toolbar