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.

Search This Blog

Friday, April 30, 2010

Wiccan Studies

"Wiccan – No Broom or Pointing Hat Needed!"
A Final Essay for the Master of Wiccan Studies Course
By Daniel L. Moore
            This completes my personal journey in exploring the "earth religions" (Druidism, Shamanism, Paganism were the others).  My goal was simply to understand and get through the popular notions to what is really practiced.  Flying on brooms sticks, bubbling cauldrons, and pointing hats may be entertaining through the lens of Hollywood.  The truth is that modern Wiccan is form of an ancient religion. 
            I liked the approach of this instruction.  The lesson on consequences was important.  Responsibility plays a big part in the practices of the followers of Wiccan.  The spiritual forces are powerful.  As a pilot of a jet fighter must be responsible in control of the jet and its systems, so to must the Wiccan be in all he or she does.
            The tools and symbolism lessons were valuable to me.  it is I who would give meaning to the tool.  Again, I see a lot of sense in this approach.  The stone, the salt, the fire, the wand…will have representation of what I see to use it for.  They are tools to be used to help me concentrate, focus, divine energy.  It is like a four foot stick I find in the woods.  I can clean it up and use it as a cane or walking staff.  The stick by itself has no power.  I bring my imagination to it and then … the possibilities are many.
            Over and over again, the instruction teaches that behind the altar, tools, and rituals it the "personal touch."  This is something we all do to a degree.  I buy a truck but I will "personalize it" by putting in a new pickup bed lining, a tool box, and custom tires. 
            I also note that use of the objects help in another way…it is one of familiarity.  There is power in this.  I can relate.  I go fishing and though I have several rods and reels…I have my high confidence ones.  They are the ones I reach for first.  In my tackle box I have lures that also are tried and proven.  I can't explain it, but there is energy in those I have high confidence in and it would be the same in the objects used in the rituals, ceremonies, and spells.
            Another strong point of this course for me was the interaction – homework – in some assignments.  I had to define the names of the holidays, I would write a ceremony, I was encouraged to practice a couple of rituals.  This is plus.  It is one thing to read about a subject but it is another to be actively involved.  I can read about preaching a sermon but it is quite another to do all that is involved from research, writing, practice, and finally delivering the sermon.  It stretches one!
            I was really challenged with the exercise of lessons 14 and 15 dealing with mythology.  At first I was stumped to find a "modern myth" but remembered some of my favorite characters as a child – Tarzan!  As I look back on that lesson, one can also find modern myths in the stories of various movies and television shows today.
            Finally, I liked the instructor's ability to question.  In lesson 17, he asks concerning Catholic rituals, "Where do they get all their rituals?"  When we accept blindly without asking a ritual or tradition, that action fails.  Why?  I believe that in the beginning a ritual or traditional practice was designed to be a teachable moment.  What has happened is that the story or event behind the ritual is forgotten. 
            For any student seeking to understand the early religions in a modern context, this is a good one.  It also helps to round out the courses on Druidism, Paganism, and Shamanism in a complementary way.  Well done! 


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.

Try our new free toolbar at: ULC Toolbar

Christian Studies

Lose Your Life
Rev. William McLeish

I have chosen the gospel of Luke Chapter 9 beginning with verse 23 as my area of discussion. I would not say that it gave me the most comfort or trouble but it was an intriguing message that for days upon end, when I began the reading of the Word, that after coming across this section of the Gospel, I had some difficulty trying to dig deep into my thought process to understand it.

The words used here continued to work into my mind as I reviewed this portion of the Scripture many times over. (V23) "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." How was I supposed to deny myself as I desperately wanted to pick up my cross and follow him? What was it that he was asking me to do and how was I to go about this?

As if that verse was not enough to cause confusion in my newly born again thought process, the next totally took me by storm. (V24) For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it. First I was to deny myself and now I was to lose my life! Days and days went by as I read many different books on various topics and each time I researched this area of discussion the words kept coming back to me "lose your life."  So I pressed on in my reading and find the succeeding verse 25 to say " For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?"

Now the renovation has begun.

Three verses that have spoken to me in a way that had me wanting, confused and poised to seek the answer. I desperately wanted to follow Jesus, and very much confused about how I was to lose my life to do so, but ready to carry the cross at the expense of the whole world.

I think it all comes down to verse 24 and the process of losing my life. When this is accomplished and the life I once lived has been given up and considered deceased, the other two verses fall in place. I was to allow Jesus to take control of my life, to follow him and let him direct my path. To give my life to him and pick up my cross on a daily basis! Once I was able to let him oversee and talk to me in the manner that I before hand was not receptive too, my old life was lost. I had succeeded in "losing my life" for his sake just as his words had directed me to do! Many times I am without a doubt that there are fellow brother and sisters out there that still have a problem with this passage and truly understanding it.

They, as I once had, never fully understood the meaning behind the verse therefore could not put it into practice in our everyday lives. It may take several readings of different translations before it sinks deep into the mind, but once it secures itself into the mindset of someone desperately trying to cope with "losing one's life" the transformation takes over and a beautiful new creation emerges. The creation takes on the very life of Jesus, replaces the old heart with a new and renewed heart, sees life through the eyes of our Lord and Savior and is at peace throughout knowing that this new life is the life that he wants you to live. Lift up the cross high and walk with him, talk with him and become a disciple of Jesus Christ. Yes, lose the life of the past and gain much more.

I would like to also include a Psalm I read today that has a related meaning to what we are talking about. It's gives new meaning to the verse 25 about "gaining the whole world."

Psalm 73:25
Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides thee.

When one can not only follow the words and direction of the message in Luke, there truly is nothing on earth that I desire besides thee.

God Bless,

Rev. William McLeish


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.


Master Shaman
Final Essay by Rev. Cynthia Vickers

Being a Shaman in today's world is just as mysterious an endeavor as in the past. The studies in this Master Shaman course has provided insight into the history, tools, and attributes of shamanic practice within the diverse cultures. Shamanism is a world wide phenomena dating back in to Paleolithic times.

Where the shaman ultimately exists is within the psychic ability of the individual's conscious connection to life. All life! The studies here in this course break down the areas of consideration of the shamanic connection.

As a shaman, a person understands life forces as energetic imprints or fields of light, they are able to work with and within this prismatic subtly to support the health of a individual animal, plant or even the energies/health of earth herself.

The shaman has usually been born with the gifts and then is responsible to unravel, define and understand their gifts in order to control them to support both herself and others through life experience. The more powerful the understanding and control of these gifts the more community seeks the use of these insights to support health and welfare of the entire group.

The shamans connection and understanding of earth and the universe's vital forces of life is not a new phenomena as stated above. The Shaman is the "initiate mystic" who has been guided to the knowledge that touches the universe. The earliest societies have documented on this.

A Shaman understands the use of plants for healing the physical body, as well as expanding mind consciousness, these are their practiced arts.  A shaman also understands the effects of sound on a person and utilizes the drum and rattle to support altered states of awareness and ecstasy. This shift in awareness was often assisted with the practice of ritualistic dance and chanting to produce the ecstatic state as well. These practices assist the shaman into a will less state of ego-tic control to a knowing-ness and connection to the all that is. The oneness of the universe.

Music is still used today as a method to switch our moods or connect ourselves with our memories and dreams of the future. Again, we see how humans understood the effects of sound on the human psyche and developed the tools to access alternate realities.

I became seriously caught in these lessons right at the beginning. The course quickly distinguishes the origins of the word/ label Shaman to the area of the Siberian Tungas. Shaman comes from the Siberian language of the Tungas, or Saman meaning tired. It is stated as a shaman being used to describe a gifted person.  Christianity has created the slang of Shame an as the Russian dialect there long "a" sound.

The original Shaman of the Americas were woman, as were Volva, the female Shaman of the Norse. The last female Shaman in America was around 600 years ago and for the Norse the men removed the female shaman when they created the brotherhood of Shamanism approximately 200 years ago.

The "Volva" Shaman of the Norse captured my curiosity immediately.
The Christianization of the Norse Shaman is found in the clothing of the Volva.  These once powerful women wore newly killed animal skins- usually a polar bear- turned inside out so the blood stained skin would be exposed to the weather while the fur rested against the nude body of the Volva. Tufts of the fur were exposed around the edges and she wore a pointed inside-out skin hat and boots.  However, the boots were put on when the Volva became Shaman and were never replaced, thus they became black with age. Christianity eliminated the Volva, but retained her garb as that worn by Saint Nicholas of the Santa Clause, who was originally a Catholic Priest." This is seriously both amusing and fascinating at the same time.

The accessories also held fascination for me regarding the power placed on the authentic development of the regalia  and how the movement to male shaman displaced women by men having the right within the community to create the correct equipment such as with the blacksmiths.

Learning the pathways of a shaman and that of a priest also offered a wonderful discourse as to the work of shaman. This created a clear discussion on evaluating my own description as to whether Shaman or priest. 

I am Shaman, nature created and divinely directed by grace to the wondrous beauty and power available to all connected with the energies of the universe.

Rev. Vickers


The Universal Life Church, is free place to become ordained,  and lasts for life, so use the Free Online Ordination, button to get started today.

The ULC Seminary was created to help train our ministers. We also have a huge catalog of Universal Life Church materials. The  Universal Life Church has grown over the years and its Seminary has added the continual growth of the church.

Try our new free toolbar at: ULC Toolbar

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wiccan Studies

I have been putting a lot of thought into what I may or may not have learned from Master in Wiccan Studies. First off, I found that the course was well written and well structured. It certainly did touch on many things that I already have been studying for some time now, and practicing. But I do think that the creators and research done on it definitely deserve a congratulations.

What I did learn, was that it certainly cemented my belief that the Wiccan and Pagan Religions are very old, and have been practiced in many ways and by many civilizations. I have found that it is probably one of the most tolerant religions, that lets the parishioner practice and alter what they need to so that they are comfortable in what they are doing and give the feeling that they are closer to the deity that they worship.

It also cemented my agreement on the fact that nether man nor woman is above mother earth. We are a part of her, and need to give back to her more than she has given to us. We also need to see that you must celebrate equality of the male and female in Religion, as in Mother Earth. I think that the main reason so many folks are stressed out and the meltdowns that happen can be traced back to a few simple aspects. That would be tolerance. If nature can be tolerant of the equality of male and females, then we must also.  The other is respect. OK, so you have heard that many times before...but go back through history...our best civilizations were the ones that respected others religions and each other.

The last, but not least important is love. If you do not love yourself, or those around you; how can you happy and stress free?

What people need to learn is that when you break down basic religious teachings, is that they are are all basically the same. The only point that differs is how it is taught. All religions have different rituals, different festivals, different deities. It is something and someone to believe in and we all have to right to worship our religion, in our own way. without persecution or judgment.  We also must learn a bit out other practices, in order to be educated.

I have tried everything that you have sent to me...some with success and some without...the ones that did not succeed will be tried again, for as you know...not everything works with the first try. Combining the courses that I have from you with the knowledge that I have gained throughout the years, has definitely put me at the next level of where I wish to go in the Wiccan Religion, and I will keep learning and growing with the Craft.

Blessed Be

Reverend Denise La Rochelle


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 Seminary since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.

Try our new free toolbar at: ULC Toolbar

Wiccan Studies

Wiccan Basic Training is one of the best general purpose Wiccan classes that I have ever taken. It is balanced, filled with wisdom and common-sense, and is an effective introduction to this important emerging religion. Lord Starwalker was taught by Sibyl Leek, and this, in and of itself, speaks volumes about his qualifications in this field – he is great.

The coursework is so very well put together. It addresses the theoretical first and then moves to the practical. The course begins with a historical overview that is both rich and balanced in its approach.  The student then moves to the setup and use of the altar including tools which may be used. I especially liked this section because Lord Starwalker stressed that tools were useful in focusing energy and intent but were not required. This observation is exceptionally powerful. There are many people who teach about Wicca who insist that tools are a requirement and that the workings at hand will not work without the use of tools. This is not my experience – one may do magical working anywhere – with or without tools. Lord Starwalker's teaching validates what my own experience has shown me.

Once the student moves out of the theoretical, one moves onto the practical application of the art. Beginning with a wonderful and effective series of lessons on dowsing, the student is taught to use something early on in their training that is not only useful, but it also works. Success is training is so very important for the new student and the two lessons on dowsing encourage the student to continue with their studies.

After the practical lessons of dowsing, it is back to theory with Lord Starwalker. Energy work, reincarnation, and an extended discussion about holidays round out the first half of the course. While I personally believe that in most classes too much emphasis is put on energy, Lord Starwalker, as always, presents a much more balanced review of the topic. Energy work is a central tenet of Wicca, although it is not the only one. In my opinion, honouring the Gods is the most important thing in this religion. Everything else is secondary. Energy work, however, is core to the work that is done and ritual and its presentation here is excellent. Three lessons are dedicated to holidays and I think this is done so well. The year is broken down into a series of components, both fire festivals and seasonal festivals and this is the crux of the Wiccan calendar. Lord Starwalker's presentation is not only historically accurate, in my opinion, it is thoroughly explained. His reference to the Coligny Calendar is crucial to add some historical foundation to the teachings. The Coligny Calendar dates back to Druidic times (see my lesson in the Master of Druidry course on Coligny) and is a crucial piece of the historical record.

The mythology section presents an excellent overview of deities. The treatment and characterizations of the deities is to the point and presents a good point of departure for further research. In every lesson, Lord Starwalker offers information and encourages the student, often through assignments, to find out more. This is one of the reasons that this is such an excellent class – the course is more than just what is presented. The student is encouraged to take the next step.

The section on ritual is worth the price of the course by itself. The breakdown of ritual into the various components is colour-coded and succinct. These steps are a good reference for the neophyte and an excellent review for the experience ritual technician. Lord Starwalker presents a good working description and it can be used without issue or concern. The additional sections on changes and variations are also quite good. As with much of Lord Starwalker's material, strict dogmatism is not required. The different steps for ritual described at one point are merely a suggestion and the following lessons describe and celebrate the variability that a situation may require. In the final analysis, dogma is thrown out the window and practicality is encouraged and celebrated. This is one of Lord Starwalker's strongest points and should be celebrated.

Returning to the practical aspects of Wicca, herbalism is discussed and some excellent examples are presented. His eyebright ritual is simple, elegant, and effective. The consecration of tools is done in a balanced manner and his definitions of Wicca and pagan are spot on. Once again, simplicity rules – the arcane does not need to be cryptic or confusing, and with Lord Starwalker it is not.

The sections on spell work are also well written, simple, and effective. There are excellent examples given that work without unnecessary flourishes and extras that do nothing more than exaggerate the importance of the ritual performer. After all, ritual is about not Gods, not the priests/priestesses.

Finally, there is an important discussion of ethics. Much of the ethic dilemma is left up to the practitioner because of the breadth of the Rede. Nonetheless, the importance of ethics in any religious system should not be ignored.

A student of this course, in performing the Self-Dedication ritual, is prepared to walk proudly into the Wiccan tradition. I do believe that further study is necessary as well as hooking up with a group with which to commune. The path laid out in this course is thorough, well-studied, and logical. While I had a lot of background in this topic, I surely enjoyed the class and learn a number of things which have enriched my experience.

 Rev. Jean Pagano


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.

Try our new free toolbar at: ULC Toolbar

Spiritual Awareness

Awareness Final Essay
Rev. Anna M Pohl

As I studied this course it became very personal to me. Not surprisingly my life began reflecting the lessons and the discourses became indicators for what was going on in my life.

It's ironic that the course tends treats the World View a bit like a task that is very difficult to accomplish, or at least out of the norm for our human sensibilities. The truth for me is quite different.

I find that the totality of our spiritual life and the World View is easy for many of us to include in our practice and service but when it gets personal? Whew! then it becomes a bigger issue. Then any Hollywood drama pails in comparison to the mess we can allow our spiritual life can become.

I've always been a person who followed my intuitions, not because I was any Intuit guru, oh no, but because I was always excited to see where they would lead me. Never being really attached to the outcome I was kind of on a adventure more then a human five sensory life you could say. Except of course in my personal relationships, now that was quite a different story. When I tried to use that in personal relationships well let's just say it was interesting.  And even now with all my life work, study and practice it is really not so different, (I'm shaking my head here)

So for this essay I will tell you a story, while I answer the question at hand.  Just what did I get out of this Awareness course?

We met at a coffee shop. I was sitting in a nice comfy chair by the window having come in just to use the wifi. I was wondering to myself "Who would leave that just laying around in a chair life that?" The black brief case was sitting across from me kind of tossed there without much care.  As the battery slowly died on my laptop I soon found out the answer to my question. He said "Hi" and I said "Hello" it was kind of a strange moment actually as we both donned looks that said more "what the…who's that?"

We didn't speak again till I was leaving and as I passed him on the way out there literally was a clap and a white flash of light. Our eyes connected in a solid rock like gaze and in that second time stopped, literally the rest of the world seemed to be in slow motion, and I said "Good bye" and nodded. He said the same turning in the chair to keep the connection. As I watched myself like an out of body experience my feet slowed and I found myself wondering if he was going to follow me as I walked out the door.  He didn't. And I got in my car and drove away.

Of course though I had never been in that coffee shop before that in my life, I ended up back there the next morning and so did he. Synchronicity? Coincidence? That is a Not so Coincidence. This was a meant to be.  We found common ground immediately and began a relationship that would take me through the rest of my course.

We began exploring, attempting to make our lives together consciously. We were opening up our personal journeys and we talked constantly about the shift that was happening and how we were to be an interracial part of that in our area. We watched as the world around us began to change by our presence and consciousness. We could walk into a room and the entire tone of the people changed. This couple stopped bickering and began holding hands. That one began to relax and a man actually stopped breathing problems right in front of us. It was so rare.

We discussed what brought us to this point and found more coincidences every day. I had had a vision the morning of the day we met and he had prayed to God for 10 things the day before. His real soul mate was #9.  Other things started to happen and the numbers 3, 9 and 11 were showing up for us everywhere. He read the Celestine Prophecy. I had read it before and now was taking this course. What a glorious time of discovery.

It was during the time when I was studying more on how to stay tapped into the universal energy and sharing that our control dramas reared their heads. Fear of rejection took him over and for him it became a violent time, not physically but emotionally and the fall out became the bullets I was dodging more and more. He was the changes as meaning there was something wrong with him and that, that is what I was telling him.

The more intense it got the more it became the same terrorism our instructor talks about in lesson 19 on print page 8. Though she was referring to the world on the whole, fear acts like terrorism. These personal attacks trigger our deepest fears and we are vulnerable. I responded with fight or flight and he reacted through suppression and denial. We did revert back to dualistic thinking and chaos ensued. The whole beautiful vision began to fall apart. I'd forgotten to tap into the greater source and my person was being drained like a tub whose plug has been abruptly pulled. We both began to manipulate our circumstances. Competitions was thick. By the time a few days had passed and I was able to remember myself, I found out later, we had already created a new trigger point in me. This was hit later and compounded the now certain deterioration of our relationship.

Even though we prayed, meditated and tried I was not the same. And he had not yet come to terms with what his responsibility in the situation was. He was cruel and oppressive and I was weekend and fought back.

Trying to become light, happy, buoyant and at peace became more and more a conscious effort instead of reality for me. And each time I attempted a fix or to make peach with the issues it blew up even bigger. I began to be swallowed up by it all and found I needed an escape. Now our personal dramas were the norm and our visions for the work we were going to do faded as our lives became a mess.

Toward the end of our time together we realized how much we Loved each other, here and in the Spiritual plain but we couldn't save us. Upon our parting we held each other consciously filling each other with light on a conscious level and then accepting the thing we feared most, separation.

The habit of control dramas can be devastating. We came to an understanding of these dramas too late it seems. We both believe their will come a day when we will see each other again. And this time we will be prepared to extend the World Vision through ourselves as individuals and with each other.  This was a spectacular learning experience. A living drama of the course.

If I could offer something to our students it would be; know yourself, accept where you are in your evolution graciously, and with forgiveness. Recognizing that is paramount. Grow in that knowledge first, so that you can begin healing. This is of the highest importance. Too often we see our level as something wrong with us. Too often we judge ourselves lacking before we even analyze who we are and why.

Take some time to learn yourself. Accept who you are, light and shadow alike. Use your spiritual tools. Send your Love and light out to yourself and all around you. Look at your own beauty. You are a wonderful creation and should be admired just for existing. Yes attempt to find your birth vision, attempt to find your center. But more importantly be joyous and replace fear with Love and contentment whenever and however you can. Then we can begin our work in the World Vision. Only then we become part of the whole.

I have enjoyed this course. I did feel there was a llot stuffed into it and it did veer off subject a bit much sometimes. However it is an invaluable recourse and I appreciate the instructor and the Seminary for creating it. Mother Father God Bless you.  My thanks.


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 Seminary since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.

Try our new free toolbar at: ULC Toolbar

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Metaphysical Healing

Master of Metaphysical Healing Essay by Rev. Alicia Gamble

This course exceeded my expectations. What I liked about it most was that it incorporated the physical body systems which are something I have been looking for in a course. Often, for people like me, you tend to feel what others are experiencing. It is no problem when they have a pain or something going on in their head, leg or somewhere easily identifiable, but when it is internal and you don't know the body systems well it can be difficult to explain what you feel. Not to mention the fact that it can make you sound like you don't know what you are talking about. So that was a wonderful aspect to include.

I found the auric fibers lesson quite illuminating. I had only heard of "unruffling" once before but it wasn't really explained until now. It really helped me to understand some things I wondered about with regards to the auric field as well as exactly what to do. I was also interested to learn that in the case of fluid retention unruffling must be done upwards, but no higher than the solar plexus to avoid heart palpitations.

The induction lessons were wonderful additions. I always wanted to know more about them and how to do them, so this was very helpful. I really enjoyed practicing them and making my own. The past life regression lesson was quite fascinating as well. I have always been interested in this area, I am not sure if it is something I would like to get into, maybe in the future when I have more experience.
I definitely agree that you shouldn't jump to conclusions when reading the colors of a person's aura. My husband was in a terrible car accident when he was sixteen in which his scull was crushed amongst other things. For many years when he would meet anyone who could see the colors of the aura they all thought he was bad or something and would have nothing to do with him. It wasn't until a couple of years ago that we found out around his head was a black sort of color from the accident years ago. Had we not of mentioned to accident to this particular person they would have stayed away from us as well. It was a really good learning opportunity for us and the other person.

All in all I was really happy with this course. I plan on doing more research on the auric field as well as inductions and working with them more as well. I think I may even invest in the book(s) she was referring to in this course as they sound like they might be quite interesting. I will definitely recommend this course to others! Thanks!

Rev. Alicia Gamble


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.

Try our new free toolbar at: ULC Toolbar

Spiritual Awareness

Master of Spiritual Awareness Essay by Rev. Alicia Gamble

This course was one of the best I have taken. I don't think there was anything I didn't like about it. It was written in a beautifully easy to understand way. The exercises were enjoyable as well as helpful. In fact, the whole thing was so good I don't know if just answering the questions can do it justice, but I will give it a try.

The first insight is about awakening, realizing that there are more than just the five senses and the physical world.

When we adopt the first insight into our present lives we start to realize that there is much more going on around us than meets the eye. If we start to pay more attention to the coincidences that happen in our lives we can start to see (and feel) something much bigger than us and our individual lives operating in the universe. What we once thought of as "blind luck" or "mere coincidence" is now seen (and felt and known) as meaningful divine assistance. The more we pay attention to the coincidences and synchronicities that happen in our lives, the more they occur and allow us to grow further spiritually.

The first insight for me was just confirmation of what I have always felt. For as long as I can remember I have always questioned and looked for the truth and reasons behind everything. I have always had an insatiable need for knowledge and to understand everything. Before I could even read I was fascinated with religion and peoples beliefs especially about God. As I grew this continued, for years I researched all different religious texts, and questioned people of all faiths but I never fully got the confirmation for what I felt deep inside of me. Finally, I simply "asked" to be led to the answers I was seeking, I just asked for help. Oddly enough, it was instant and in the form of a coincidence and everything has opened up from there.

The fourth insight was of particular interest to me as I have seen how people steal energy literally and through control repeatedly on an individual level. Though I saw what happens and how I didn't realize the immensity, nor full meaning until now. This insight shows that people treat each other in such violent manners all for the competition of energy. I have seen it time and again all because people don't realize they are fighting for human energy which does not and cannot ever provide the sense of completeness that people really hunger for. The only way to get that is from a connection with divine energy.

In order to begin to open up and share positive energy with others one must learn to tap into the universal energy. To do this we need to be able to surrender our need for control and open ourselves up. Then we need to be able to realize the feeling of being filled up. When we open ourselves up and we can receive energy, coincidences and all of the gifts from the universal intelligence start to flow more easily to us. Only then can the oneness of body, mind and spirit be found. Once we get to the point where we can feel real divine love (which is different than the earthly love we are used to) then through will alone we can send the energy back.
The main lesson for me in the seventh insight is to really pay attention. It is being fully present and watching what is going on in the environment around me, my thoughts and my interactions with people. To really be aware of these while staying connected and feeling and being love and the universal energy. To watch for people and things in the environment that seem to "shine" just a little brighter. To expect coincidences and for people to bring the information and/or answers I desire because we get all the answers and information we need from others. Which means it is especially important to be connected when dealing with people so we, and they, can receive what we are supposed to from each other.

Of particular interest is the fact that humans will change from the five sensory beings of today to the multi-sensory beings of the future. Five sensory beings live very much in the physical world feeling very detached and alone because they, for the most part, are limited to the five senses (taste, touch, smell, feeling and hearing) as their sensory experience of the world. Whereas, the multi-sensory beings we will/are becoming know that we are never alone, we are all part of the whole and that we all share in the creation of the physical world for our learning and growth. They understand that the intention behind every action creates its effect, that intention affects others as well as ourselves and that the effects of the intentions are not limited to the physical world. Five sensory beings on the other hand, do not perceive the effects of intentions, to them, the effects of actions are physical and do not always affect themselves or others.
In the next millennium we will be looking at a completely different way of life. We will see things like forests being left to grow and mature into powerful energy centers which people will live among or by, while tending to beautiful gardens. Things like food, Shelter and transportation will be automated and available to all, with no need for currency, overindulgence or laziness. There will be no need for power and control as people will live more intuitively always knowing what needs to be done and when, which will work in harmony with the actions of others.

Living with and acting on intuitions will help to satisfy people's sense of purpose as they watch their destinies unfold.

People, of their own accord, will start to decrease the population on the planet. They will experience a period of deep introspection then they will begin to realize how beautiful and spiritual the natural world really is. The things of nature will be revered for the great and powerful things that they are. There will be great demand to end any economic ventures that threaten the natural world. Pollution will no longer be a problem as there will be people who will intuit alternative solutions.

As this shift happens people will begin to realize that we are here to evolve spiritually through loving action, with this understanding our vibrational frequencies will change. As people raise their vibrational levels they will fulfill the purpose of human existence – Heaven on earth, where there is no division or separation, where we are all one.

This course is a must, especially for those who are feeling the energy shift or are worried about all the 2012 hype.

We are being presented with a wonderful opportunity to reshape ourselves and our world. Instead of fearing the changes ahead we should be embracing them and spend our time and energy learning how to encourage and grow with and into the wonderful new way of life that is emerging. I will definitely recommend this course to others as I think it is very important to get important powerful information like this out there. Thanks so much!

Rev. Alicia Gamble


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.

Try our new free toolbar at: ULC Toolbar

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Buddhist Studies

Master of Buddhism
Final Writing
 by Val Frederick

Course: Master of Buddhism, written by Tricia Stirling
Topic: What did I learn, like and what this course meant to me.

This course has given me the opportunity to learn the intricacies of Buddhism, the various versions of Buddhism and how this way of life changes lives.  I have taken this course now for twenty weeks and from that I don't see it so much as a World religion as much as I see it as a way of life.  For the most part what I have learned from these twenty weeks is how I see the world around me is different from others.

I've claimed to be a Buddhist for sometime now, but that is the easy explanation.  In reality I've tried to live by the spiritual reality I call Valism. Yes that is the spiritual way of seeing the world, living amongst others and the desire to be treated as you treat others according to my own spiritual perceptions and objectives.  I've studied various spiritual ways for as long as I can remember.  Not happy any of the mainstream organized religions and how they want you to be a good person because of the threats from their higher power.  I don't believe an all good higher power wants us to be good or if we are not answer to his or her wrath. This so called fire and brimstone should not force their followers to be good but the desire to be good should come from within.

I believe there is good in us all.  However it's our environment that has given each of us a different way to see our world and then we put up walls that prevent us from seeing the path of righteousness.  This leads many to see the world through different colored glass and that's when we loose sight of the good within.

I've taken a lot of what I believe in from the readings of Mother Theresa, Mary Baker Eddy, Deepak Chopra, Martin Luther King, Jr., Desmond Tutu, Ravi Shankar and certainly the Dalai Lama.  From them I've taken what made sense to me and left the rest.  As the original pragmatist, Buddha once said, "Don't believe what I say out of blind devotion but follow me because it makes sense to you."

I believe and hold true to what the Dalai Lama said, "Don't try to use what you learn from Buddhism to be a better Buddhist; use it to be a better Whatever-you-already-are."  Now combine that with the last words of Buddha, "Strive on untiringly" and you have Valism, my spiritual way of being.

I like the way this course was written. It's presented in a down to earth way and it was easy to put myself in the readings week after week.  I learned Siddhartha was on a quest to enlightenment.  I learned life is about balancing; it is the middle way to enlightenment and not the extreme of poverty or the extreme of wealth.  Think of the music made by a sitar.  The music only continues if the strings are tightened just so.  If they are tightened too much, they break and the music dies.  If they are too loose there is no sound at all.  It takes being in the middle way and the strings being just so to hear the music. It is the middle way to reaching enlightenment. Siddhartha's search of enlightenment starts with the question of suffering and the solution to this suffering but honestly translated suffering is simply dissatisfaction.  There is suffering (dukkha).  There is a cause of suffering (craving).  There is the cessation of suffering (nirvana).  There is the eightfold path leading to the cessation of suffering.

Buddha wanted his believers to question his words and find their own way. There was a story of a man finding Buddha sitting in meditation beneath a fig tree.  The man asked, "Who are you?"  The simple answer Buddha uttered was, "Remember me as, the one who woke up!"

The pinnacle of my learning was when I realized there are three fires or poisons; greed, anger and ignorance.  To put these fires out we can only do so by turning these poisons around and that is with their opposites; generosity, compassion and wisdom.


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 Seminary since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.

Try our new free toolbar at: ULC Toolbar

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Chaplaincy Toolbox

When I am called out for Chaplain Duties (I call them Chaplain Calls, so that I can tell my wife I am off doing my calling), it can be at anytime, or place.  Therefore, my Toolbox is always in the pickup truck, ready to go.  In it I carry:

1.    3 Bibles
a.    Small pocket size NIV
b.    A larger Print NIV
c.    A Roman Catholic Bible
d.    At times I may take a Large Print American Bible, for services
2.    Day Timer
a.    To keep track of appointments
b.    Make Notes
c.    Listing of Shelters (Boston Area)
  i.    Homeless
  ii.    Women
  iii.    Men
  iv.    Veterans
d.    Emergency Numbers
  i.    Police
  ii.    Fire
  iii.    Hospitals
  iv.    Ambiances
e.    Numbers of fellow Chaplains, Ministers, Priest and Rabies. (Good Friends)
f.    Number of a Psychologist, who is also a good friend.
3.    A copy of the Minister's Handbook by Orlando Tibbetts.(Small)
4.    A copy of the Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service Handbook (small)
5.    American Legion Chaplain's Manual.
6.    Military Service Chaplains' Manual (small).
7.    The Notebook from this course.
8.    A simple communion kit. (my own design)
9.    At times I use a Roman Collar, when the time is right for it. (Friar Tuck blue clergy shirt) But mostly I am in    street    close with a cross around my neck or shirt and tie with the cross.
10.    $5.00 minimum
11.    Cell phone
12.    Small Hand held Tape Recorder.
13.    Flash Light
14.    First Aid Kit.
15.    I use to carry a jack knife, but no more. 
16.    I carry two Handkerchiefs
17.    Didn't think about music until now.  Maybe tapes, CDs, or a hymnal. 
18.    I have a copy of The Common Book of Prayer.  Helps with services, confessions, and so on.

All of this fits into a carry bag that goes over my shoulder, but mostly stays in the truck.
I do have a Personal Computer which I don't use all that offend. It goes in its own case. Good to check my Email. And I have Bible software loaded on it.

Blessing to

Rev. Arthur Strafuss


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.

Try our new free toolbar at: ULC Toolbar

Religious Philosophy

reverend adam rocke
essay: master of religious philosophy

This is my essay for the course entitled Master of Religious Philosophy by Robert Chamberlain as required to receive my certificate of completion. I start with some quotes that sum up some of this course content: "This religious function is to define our relationship with other people."( lesson 14); and the following: " Essentially what all three questions are addressing is the is of how we, as mortal human beings, relate to reality."(lesson 15). In lesson 16 one statement indicates –that with one exception, religions believe their followers should take an active role in the government and administration of society, that is, establishing, regulating and enforcing social structure. He goes on to indicate that groups tend to actively globalize their religion and the world would be a better place if everyone would simply convert to their faith. And, in lesson 22, a statement is made about differing religions and philosophies: " When all is said and done, these are not better or worse, they are simply different." Basically, after reading and studying this course various things become evident. It also becomes troubling as I will indicate in my closing remarks.

Religions serve the people who follow them the degree of difference in religions is also marked by the degrees of similarities.  No religion is greater or lesser in value. The complexities of various religions deal with the breakdown of certain elements and concepts. The noted authors of Smith and Russell indicate various tenets of religious content. Conceptually, I found that these comparisons were indicated in natural phenomenon and dealt with elements of ownership or guardianship of the world. Issues of science and religion are resolved by looking into the concepts of each and one can find that there is compatibility for these ideas as they tend to support each other rather than differentiate themselves in reality. Science is accounted for by definition as 'to know'. Derivations then go on to discuss 'omniscient' meaning omni (all) and scient (knowing). Thus one can contend that the use of science is by definition overlapping in religion. In science one deals with matters of knowledge or fact and in religion one deals with faith and cognitive thoughts not of science but of emotion and thought, values and meanings or invisible qualities and such. Are they incompatible? Quoted authors think not. They are answers to differing questions.

As I went through the course I saw many definitions to set most religions in their own context and then look at the thought that yes, there is both need for and goodness in concepts of people having religious beliefs. These do not interfere with matters of fact; they establish parameters for their followers to live by. Some consider superiority over the domain of the earth and others worship element of al natural things and preserve them. There is the psychological, natural and social means of religion to derive meanings of their practice. Additionally, religion is based on myth, doctrine scripture and sacred space. As one moved through the lesson in this complex analysis of philosophies, it becomes evident of why there are differing values of who is the way to follow. The dogma of these beliefs set them apart from one another.

When one compares various religions there is the issue of histories and translations and time variances that impact the differing thoughts within them. How did this history move forward and who controlled the ideas within is of great interest in comparing how things evolved in the religious practices. How did ones determine what is scared in there movements? All these factors and much more provide differing sets of thoughts for the followers and then religion is further complicated by defined regions of development. 

Humans believe in religion for various reasons and likely so the world will makes sense when there is not fact to determine why things happen. One has to look at the reason we believe. It seems to be human nature that we need answers to our question in life and this gives us religion to help us. No one wants to be without reason so if one thinks that we are of God's image then we act with the same qualities. The evil that occurs may not be because of God's wrath, but merely that absence of belief. Just as dark is the absence of light.

As one progresses through this course is explains many concepts and it is very complex in matters that are of theory relating to the end product. It shows examples of how we differ. However, what I found most interesting is the concept that in the political entities that have in essence banned religion, they have had to relax such bans as time has progress and the people go back to the concepts of the religious beliefs for support and this makes a community ultimately of people who have shared beliefs. So it is not so much as whether one is what religion, it is more that one has religion.

Another concept of the comparisons is how the world is viewed; are we superior to nature, a part of nature or are we responsible to nature. These are issues that also separate the philosophy that are followed.  These concepts too set up means for comparative elements of belief. Regions complexities of derivations can be looked at in many ways, but as mentioned above, the concept is to have it or not and to follow, or not. It appears as if mankind needs these guiding ideals to follow regardless of who thinks they are right or superior. My only interjected comment in all about religious philosophy is all should stand with equal value for those who wish to follow. Personally, I agree that is it choice and not my decision to push my beliefs on others. If they agree fine, and if not fine. I do believe and this course has opened up my ability to see differences and how beliefs are established.

My only closing remark is my concern for one value and that is superiority. The biggest detriment to religious freedom and in my opinion, to mankind is the belief, or I should say, if the belief exists that one group is superior to others and their role is to force all others to follow their personal religious doctrines. In other words, it is the concept that not that religion is the opiate to the people, but that superior is to the detriment of the people. Because then the only means is to either indoctrinate or forcibly instill their beliefs on all others. This has been the reason for taken this course, to see the evolution of religions, how they came to be and what they believe in. Ultimately, if left alone, all can coexist? However, reality is that this is not fact and there are those that wish to rule all through religious belief of superiority. This is the concern I have for the faith community. Will all others have to rise to assure that none are more than equal?

I found this course to be very enlightening and very and impressively complex in the analysis. Great work has been done by the author to show the various elements of religious belief systems. I highly recommend it for its content and thoroughness. Kudos to R. Chamberlain…


Reverend  Adam Rocke


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 Seminary since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.

Try our new free toolbar at: ULC Toolbar