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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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Historical Jesus

Final Essay
Search for the Historical Jesus

Submitted by Ernest Kayorie

The search for the Historical Jesus course has been a delightful review/romp through the various theories surrounding this controversial subject.  The instructor takes you through the various theories surrounding the search beginning with Reimarus and his school of thought and ending with current theories which have recently found fresh food for thought on the subject. The instructor’s expansion of ideas about Jesus’ kingdom theories and his approach to his role as a way shower and messenger is carefully explained to show how each could be a viable explanation of Jesus’ role on the world scene.

The search for a better representation of this important figure is a worthy journey and the only one that makes any sense.  If we can determine who this individual was and how he viewed himself and his role, we might better appreciate his message of simplicity. His strong sense of mission and his insistence on establishing the kingdom of God was a message of timely import.  He stated over and over again that the kingdom was within and not an earthly one that was hoped for by many.

The otherworldly persona placed on him and his role has been the product of other’s thoughts and philosophies under the guise of divine interpretation and is not wholly associated with his message.  When historians and theologians create their own divine messenger, it is easy to attribute and manipulate what they thought was stated.  The Jesus/God that was created was the product of Jewish thought intermingled with Greek metaphysics.  There is no scarcity of documentation attesting to the existence of  the God/man Jesus.   The solidification of those theories eventually became a reality as a result of the   decrees issued by the various Church councils.   On the political side, all of this to insure that the emerging administrative church could take its place as an heir to the Roman Empire.  On the spiritual side, the Fathers  (theologians, philosophers et al.) of this organization were sincerely earnest in their quests to understand the divine nature of Jesus/God’s message and messenger.  They endeavored to interpret doctrine and dogma in the best possible way for the Church and its followers.

The major challenge begins when one realizes that the subjects are on two different levels.  The Fathers of the Church were dealing with their own conception of their deity or at least the one that came to be accepted as the “true” god.  The search for the historical Jesus is a search for a “real” human being who had hopes, aspirations, ideals and  a sense of mission or not.  The human Jesus is the one that people can identify with as opposed to some “created” superhuman giant. 

The value of the search is important because the closer we get to valid possibilities, the better we can appreciate those possibilities.  This seems to be the only way to proceed because of the scarcity of first hand documentation.  Jesus apparently did not write his teachings down but relied on oral transmission of his message to others and seemingly left it to their discretion to relate what was said and meant.

Historical research has a tendency to rely too heavily on its own definition of historical fact.  Much of what we know of our own historical past is based on tradition and also fictionalized versions of those individuals we deem as great personages.  The same situation applies to the individual we know as Jesus. The translation of apocryphal writings, some very fictionalized, present a very human Jesus.  They present stories of his mother’s life and his childhood.  They relate stories of his family life and how he was viewed by his peers and neighbors.  Again no one person has played on the imagination of the world as has this person.  The more we have a chance to know and experience Jesus, the easier it will be  to make an informed decision about his mission and how it can influence our lives.  Millions of individuals look to the New Testament  as their leader and guide without questioning the authenticity of the writings.   Many do not question anything relating to “accepted” scriptures not realizing that the canon of those scriptures was the result of a decision made by men and sanctioned by an organization.  They were the result oftentimes of decisions motivated by bitterness and jealousies and petty rivalries.

This writer finds that the search for the historical Jesus is a worthwhile endeavor in and of itself and finds that delving into that search is both exciting and informative.

The role of the academic community devoted to finding the historical Jesus beginning with  Hermann Reimarus’ investigations (1778/old quest), and continuing today with the Jesus seminar groups has brought to the forefront the necessity of finding out who the human Jesus was. The recently formed Jesus Project continues the search with promised results that will be as varied as previous attempts no doubt.

Prior to these endeavors, it seems that the existence of a historical/human Jesus had become irrelevant.  Who needs to be concerned with humanness when we have a divine being to emulate?   As was pointed out in the course, quite simply human and divine…they were the same or at least they were explained as how that could be. The years of establishing that fact was the result of the first seven Church councils and since that time, little alteration has been necessary.  As time progressed and the farther we got from that fact, the need to reacquaint ourselves with the source became evident.  There is ample evidence that suggests that each culture who claim to be Christian see their founder in their own light.  In this case, people are not interested in the Jesus of history but prefer to “worship” their own conception of Jesus even if that conception is exaggerated or totally distorted.  As an example, some Christians find the fact that Jesus was Jewish to be an affront to their beliefs.  They prefer their “god” to be like them.

The value of the search for the Jesus of history forces us to confront falsehood and study this popular figure  for what he was, namely a Jewish man from the Middle East who was responsible for relating a message that could change lives for the better.  The simplicity of that message is astonishing and will remain so despite the efforts of so many to destroy it, albeit in good faith.  The value of the various quests definitely lies in the fact of seeing this person as everything from a social revolutionary to a wandering peasant sage to a disillusioned teacher who was ushering in a new age.  The search will go on under the guise of different theories with different names but the importance lies in the fact that the search continues.  Seen in this vein, it seems that the search for a valid explanation of who the historical Jesus was is a separate study from what has been the search for our own cosmic significance.

The quest for the historical Jesus has transitioned to a quest for the Cosmic Christ.  The search for the Cosmic Christ has become the quest of modern man in search for his own destiny.  It is the time for our return to our beginnings and the realization of who we truly are and if Jesus can bring that about in our lives then it’s good to have someone or something to rely on until we find enough confidence to realize that we have to learn to stand on our own.   Was it not said by Jesus through the gospels that “whoever believes in me will perform the same works as I do myself, he will perform even greater works.”    Was this an allusion to the fact that we have inherited the right to become like the “Christed” one that he represented?  Paul, in his letter to the Galatians refers to this progression  when he says that “I live now not with my own life but with the life of Christ who lives in me”  (Gal. 2:20)  and again “I must go through the pain of giving birth to you all over again, until Christ is formed in you.” (Gal. 4:19) 

As studies progress towards that inevitable conclusion with the pioneering works of Teihard De Chardin and Matthew Fox and many notable members of the scientific/religious  community (the list goes on and on), we can conclude that the journey continues.

Many people get ordained through the Universal Life Church as a means to become wedding officiants, but also to study through our online seminary. If you need minister supplies or online ceremonies, we have a wide selection to choose from, as well as a place for spiritual articles and spiritual bookmarks. If you need any assistance in any area of your ministry, please feel free to contact and we'll give you all the help we can. Visit our FB Page at ULC Seminary.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Gospel of Matthew

                                                       The Gospel of Matthew

Matthew portrays a very God like, all-powerful Jesus, with very few humanistic characteristics.

Matthew 2:3, "at this news King Herod became greatly disturbed." I thought the king would be happy to hear about the birth of Jesus. Apparently the kings intentions were not very nice. I really find this passage interesting, mainly because it separates God from the kingdom. Meaning the King has power and is afraid of losing it to the Son of God. 

Matthew's description of healing is very interesting; he gives Jesus more powers then Mark did. In Matthew 4:23 Jesus goes into Galilee and heals every disease and every sickness among the people, he does this with such ease. He helps a man with Leprosy in 8:2 by simple touching his hand and saying "be clean." In Matthew 8:12, Jesus says to a man, go and your friend will be healed because of his faith. Faith definitely plays the biggest role in Jesus' healing. 

Matthew refers to faith often throughout the gospel; you have to have faith to be saved by the lord. It's the only way you can believe in something that no one has ever seen. In Matthew 8:25, Jesus is on a boat in the middle of a storm, when his men say, "Lord, save us! We are perishing!" Jesus says, "why are you fearful, o you of little faith." Jesus stops the storm and his men are amazed. 

It would be so easy to be scared in that situation, you have Jesus sleeping as waves come over the boat, I might loss a little faith myself, especially if it happened in the twenty-first century. A great example of faith comes in Matthew 9:22, when he cures a woman with a hemorrhage, she is cured by touching his clothing. And Jesus tells her it was because of her faith. Faith comes into play many times in Jesus' healing, many times he doesn't even have to touch the person in order for them to get better. Faith to me is a very tough concept to grasp, if I ever do then I'll have the lord on my side. 

Jesus according to Matthew has very few humanistic characteristics, but he is definitely human because he was born to the Virgin Mary. According to the gospel it seems like people get there faith from his healing more then his teachings, a more humanistic Jesus would have to be a great teacher in order to get the faith of the people. Jesus sends his disciples out to spread the word of the lord. 

He warns them though people will try to arrest you and kill you. He tells them to be careful, but have faith that God will watch over them. One thing Jesus tells them that really shocked me was "He who loves father or mother more then me is not worthy of me." I understand you must love God more in order to have faith, but I could never put a Holy Spirit ahead of my family. In my opinion, one of the most important world masterpieces we can study is the Gospels in the Bible.  Especially the Gospel of Matthew.  This book continues to make a profound influence on thousands of people on the earth.  It is inspires, teaches, demands, and gives us hope.  It sets essential guidelines for living.  It is the foundation for salvation.  Nothing else could ever be so important to all of humankind.    We can relate to it because it tells us about ourselves.  It also tells us about others.  It discusses the issues that we hold at the core of our society.  Even for non-believers, the book of Matthew is the foundation for our society's moral, cultural, and ethical beliefs, accepted practices, and basic laws. This book affects all people who hear it.  It is a fascinating literary masterpiece. 

               Beginning in the New Testament the Bible moves from strict enforcement, punishment, and prophecy, into the glorious presentation of the Son of God.  He is spoken of hundreds of times in the Old Testament through symbols and prophecies -- all pointing to the future and the coming of Someone.  The Old Testament cannot be read without being aware of that constant promise running through each page.  Someone is definitely coming.

        In opening the Gospels, that Someone comes forth in the fullness of his glory, and it is absolutely fascinating.  We  get a chance to see Christ as he is.  Because what Christ was, is   what he is, and what he will always be.   We are given a view into the depth and fullness of his character and being and life.  That is why the Gospels are so important to us. 

               The word gospel means "good news."  It was the message that Jesus forgives the sins of all who trust in Him.  The Gospel of  Matthew is the first book in the New Testament, and has been called the most important book that has ever been written for Christendom.  Matthew was a Jewish tax collector who obeyed  Christ's call and became one of the original twelve apostles.  

Matthew's name means, "gift of  God."  Jesus gave him this name in  place of his given name, Levi when he joined with Christ.

               The Gospel of  Matthew is the perfect link between the Old and New Testaments.  Matthew wrote especially to the Jews to prove that Christ is their promised Messiah and the eternal King of kings and Lord of lords.  Therefore, Matthew is careful not to alienate his Jewish readers.  Matthew also shows how Jesus fulfilled prophecy and how He is the Person who will bring in God's kingdom.  Because the "Kingdom of heaven" is found thirty-three times in this Gospel, it has been called the Gospel of the Kingdom.  The book also shows that followers of Christ are the true people of God and the heirs of the coming kingdom.  
Matthew records Jesus' birth,  Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, the Parables of the Kingdom, and Peter's confession of Christ as the Son of God.  

               Matthew could also be called the Gospel of the King because it is  Matthew's task to present him as the King.  The prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus entered Jerusalem, "humble and riding on an ass..." (Zech 9:9).  A genealogy is given to show God's working throughout the ages to bring His Son to earth.  Jesus' legal right to the throne comes through Joseph and his hereditary  right through Mary.  

               The first chapter recounts the joyful miracle of the birth of Jesus, which is different  from every other birth.  He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in Mary's womb and born with a sinless nature.  He is "God with us" and also God like us because He took on our nature and entered into human life and experience.  When Jesus was  baptized by John, he was given his heavenly authority  as the Father's voice spoke from heaven and said, "This is my Son, whom I love;  with him I am well pleased"  (Matt 3:17).

               In chapter four, Jesus is tempted by Satan not as a personal test but for our sake, that He might personally know temptation and be able to help us when we are tempted.  He overcame the devil by using the same weapons available to us today:  the Word of God, the power of the Spirit, and prayer.  

               The Sermon on the Mount presents a picture of the truly righteous person and shows the spiritual principles that control his or her life.  Jesus defined what sin is (5:21-48) and what real righteousness is in the areas of worship (6:1-18) and wealth (6:19-34).  We lay up treasures in heaven when we consider that all we have belongs to God and we use it to magnify His righteousness and advance His kingdom (Matt. 6:33).  It means much more than merely giving offerings to God, although that is important.  It means total stewardship of life so that God is in complete control and our one desire is to glorify Him.  This is the secret of a unified life (Matt. 6:24) free of worry.  It is important because it deals with internal attitudes as well as outward actions.  In these rules of the kingdom there is an emphasis on the physical life.  Jesus was saying that if we discover him and receive him as our King, we will discover that He is the answer to all of our physical needs.  We need only to look to Him.

               This is followed by a section on miracles.  These are illustrations of the benefits that our Lord can bestow on the level of the physical life if we accept him.  Matthew assembled several   of Jesus' miracles and recorded them as proof that Jesus is the promised  Messiah.  There are five main points seen through these miracles:  God is concerned with individuals, God can meet every need, God responds to faith, God's greatest concern is the salvation of sinners,  and God calls us to help Him reach the lost.  All of these miracles show the time Jesus was willing to spend, his compassion, his ability to heal,  his  ultimate power and  his intense love and caring for all of us.  

                              This, in turn, is followed by a section of parables of the kingdom.  Jesus used the  familiar to teach the unfamiliar ("things new and old" Matt. 13:52).  He did that not to hide the truth but to arouse interest in the truth.  He wanted to get the people to open their eyes and ears and receive the truth into  their  sluggish hearts.  Jesus  also warns against things like hostility, distractions,  hypocrisy, and neutrality (you are either for Him or against Him).  He also speaks about truthfulness and forgiveness.  These parables explain how God is at work in the world today.   God is sowing His Word in  human hearts and looking for fruit (vv. 1-9, 18-23).  He is sowing His  people in the world where they can produce a harvest.  (vv. 24-330, 36-43).  At the end of the age, He will separate the true from the false and the good from the bad. 

               Beginning with chapter 16, there is a second ministry of Jesus to the nation, this time on the level of the soul:  listening, trusting and obeying Jesus.  He is offering himself on this level.  His first revelation is to his disciples only, for they are the nucleus of the coming church, and  this  takes us up to chapter  18.  Here is the transfiguration and the first intimation of Jesus' death. 

This is followed by parables of the King.  These are addressed first to the disciples, and then to the nation.  All are parables presenting him as the King who has the right to command and to determine the character of individuals.  Jesus wants to heal  your marriage and bless your family, so let Him have your all.   Nothing is said now about their  physical lives.  Are they willing to follow him;  are they willing to let  him mold and shape their lives and characters? 

               Now what began as a triumphal entry into Jerusalem,  turns into the judicial entry, when Jesus judges the nation,  passes into the temple, stops the offerings, and drives out the money changers.  Jesus does this not to judge, however, but to save.  A person whose life is "nothing  but leaves" is in danger of judgment, for Christ seeks fruit (Matt. 7:15-20).  Once again you  hear the word "woe" coming in.  In chapter 23, verse 13, He says, "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, ..."   (Matt 23:13)   All through the chapter, this word  "woe" rings out again and again. 

               This is followed by a section in chapters 24 and 25, where there are instructions to individuals again.  The instructions tell  the believers what to do until Jesus comes again. We are warned not to be deceived, discouraged, defeated, doubtful, or distracted.  

 The Word will not change.  It reveals how world history is going to shape up, what will happen in the intervening years;  what forces will be let loose upon the earth;  how the forces of darkness are going to take God's own people and test them, try them, and shake their foundations.  He declares that they can only stand as they learn to reckon upon the inner strengthening of the Holy Spirit.  When Jesus returns, it will be a time of separation:  the wise from the foolish, the faithful from the unfaithful, and the blessed from the cursed. 

People need to be born again and receive the Holy Spirit.  His coming also means as evaluation.  We must invest in our lives and make them better in order to give the glory to God.  Faithfulness is the key, because God measures us against ourselves, not against others.  Have faith and take some risks for God.   We don't always realize what our service means to Christ, so when He returns it will also be a time of commendation.

               Finally we arrive at the last section.  It is here that we are told of the betrayal, the trial of the Lord Jesus, the agony, the crucifixion, and the miraculous resurrection. We are told of how God offered opportunity to all those suffering adversity.  When, for example, Peter was given the opportunity to repent, he wept.   No matter what others did, Jesus was in complete command and know how to make the most of every opportunity.  Use all the opportunities that God gives you today wisely. Not as I will, but as you will" is the secret (v. 39).  Jesus is truly the example to follow when we suffer unjustly.  First the suffering, then the glory; first the cross, then the crown.  We should remember this the next time we are tempted to take the easy way.

               The message of the empty tomb is, "Do not be afraid!"  Jesus overcomes the world, the people, death, and the devil.  So we need not be afraid of anything as long as we have Jesus.  He also keeps His promises, goes before us, and has all authority.  He will prepare a way for us if we trust in Him for he has promised to be with us always. 

                  The great message of the Gospels, then, is that God is not up yonder on some throne; He is not waiting in some distant judgment hall to pass judgment upon us.  He is ready and waiting to pass into the center of a hungry, thirsting person's heart, and there to minister the blessing of his own life, his own character, his own being, all for us.  When the King is enthroned in life, the kingdom of God is present.  That is the message of Matthew "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand"  (Matt 4:17).

               The great question to which Matthew demands an answer is, "Is Jesus Christ King of your life?"  Have you received him only as Savior of the body or Savior of the soul?  The question that  Matthew brings before us is, "Has he become King?  Has he penetrated to the spirit?  Has he mastered your heart?  Has he laid hold of your worship as an individual, so that he is the one single most important person in all the universe to you?"  That is when he becomes King.  That is the fulfillment of the first commandment.  “You shall have no other gods before me, for you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your strength, and with all your mind."  The result will be that you will love your neighbor as yourself. 

               Countless famous authors and other literary masterpieces have drawn parallels and made references to many of the ideas of Matthew's Gospel.  Dante, St. Augustine, Machiavelli, and Erasmus to name a few. It continues to be a source of inspiration. For many people in the world, the book of Matthew is like a second creation story.  This is because it is like a new beginning.  Because of the story of Christ's resurrection, we gain hope and inspiration.  We look forward to a better time.  Because of the Sermon on the Mount, we are able to have a more positive, secure, and promising outlook on the world we are experiencing at hand. 


Albright, W.F. and C. S. Mann, eds.  Matthew:  the Anchor Bible.  Garden City, NY:  Doubleday                  and Co., Inc., 1971.

NIV Study Bible.  Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI. 1995.

Wenham, G.J., et al., ed. New Bible Commentary.  ED. IVP, 1994.

Evans, Tony.  Our  God is Awesome.  Moody Press, Chicago. 1994.

Andy Gaus  The Unvarnished Gospel , 2001.

 Rev. Steve Dunkley

Many people get ordained through the Universal Life Church as a means to become wedding officiants, but also to study through our online seminary. If you need minister supplies or online ceremonies, we have a wide selection to choose from, as well as a place for spiritual articles and spiritual bookmarks. If you need any assistance in any area of your ministry, please feel free to contact and we'll give you all the help we can. Visit our FB Page at ULC Seminary.

Friday, October 28, 2011


Lesson 7
1.  There is physical immortal acts in baptism.

2. Thinking we have gnosis of forgiveness of Sin.

3. Engaging in sexual intercourse while the wedding is taking place is could the Bridal Chamber. 
Emily Stevenson
Wise owl 
Esha'al Reja

Many people get ordained through the Universal Life Church as a means to become wedding officiants, but also to study through our online seminary. If you need minister supplies or online ceremonies, we have a wide selection to choose from, as well as a place for spiritual articles and spiritual bookmarks. If you need any assistance in any area of your ministry, please feel free to contact and we'll give you all the help we can. Visit our FB Page at ULC Seminary.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Miracle of Prayer

 At the start, the 1st discourse I thought, this is going to be long and a real drag. You see I thought I knew what I needed to know regarding the bible. I soon found out that after a few of the exercises really got me on a new life with God. We must have love, we must give love and care for our people that we share this earth with. 

Also that we are a family and Jesus is in fact our elder brother. The importance of forgiveness and how it's best to forgive and let go of the matter. That a lot of the time it's us that needs the comfort of saying I forgive you. Sometimes it's your action of kindness and forgiving that shows God's love. I also understand how to pray and what I should be praying about. It's not all about my financial problems. But the opportunity to serve Gods will. For many of the discourses I would spend time seeking God with quite time. I now ask God each day to use me in his work and the best possible way. 

We need to go out each day and use our gifts that God has given. I like the saying that It's sometimes better to show God's love in a more practical way then talking. I truly believe that this life on earth that we spend so much of our day's working for bigger and better things. Larger, nicer and more, puts us on the track of no purpose. We are on this earth for just a short time. This time should be used to do Gods business. And use this time as a proving ground for what's to come after we take our last breath of air. What a great course, so much information. I will be using the information for years to come as a minister. 

Yes I do feel stronger and more set to serve God.

Rev. Mike Zhmendak

Many people get ordained through the Universal Life Church as a means to become wedding officiants, but also to study through our online seminary. If you need minister supplies or online ceremonies, we have a wide selection to choose from, as well as a place for spiritual articles and spiritual bookmarks. If you need any assistance in any area of your ministry, please feel free to contact and we'll give you all the help we can.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Chaplaincy Studies

ULC Seminary
Master of Chaplaincy Studies

Rev. Nick Federspiel
You Have Only Just Begun… from lesson 20.  No truer words; no matter when and where one is in a project, as the old saying goes this is the first day of the rest of your life,  This day a new chapter in the project has just begun.  Except that with Chaplaincy it is not just your life but others as well and “us” chaplain’s, ministers, pastors, reverends and evangelists have volunteered for this responsibility and duty.   In my opinion this course was full of simple practical information. Did it take?
{About Lesson 5 – The Chapel – Where One Ministers: Hospitals, Hospice, Nursing Homes – Part II;  I decided to call the local hospital and inquire about volunteering as a chaplain. The door was slammed shut, not interest, barriers, rules, etc. “They” said that ministers were only allowed in the hospital by INVITATION  of the PATIENT – IF - the patient specifically requested of the staff to see their minister AND the patient was a REGISTERED member of the ESTABLISHED church’s congregation!  I kid you not. WOW!   Was I deflated! I felt like I had just read a lesson and took a step towards becoming a public enemy. “They” said the rules were made by the legal department. The hospital’s lawyers are now their patients’ spiritual gate keepers and the patients and doctors answer to them.  Generally speaking, it has been my observation that few professions are as void of training in spiritual inspiration and moral discipline as are lawyers and law schools. The local hospital is a tangible case in point.
Later, on Christmas Eve, I attended a special holiday Anglican service held at the college chapel that I pastor services at on Sunday Mornings. The priest has a very active and long standing mission chaplaincy program at “correctional institutions.”  His staff were all “corrected and enlightened.”   A Long story short; he invited me to accompany him on his mission to observe and become aware of the how his program operates. He felt that in the correctional facility one meets many types of personalities, some salvageable and some not, but all were once NOT YET incarcerated and some will be repatriated and those are certainly people any chaplain or minster might meet along the path of life and mission service any time any place. There it was; the chaplaincy door slammed shut and locked tight earlier was suddenly wide open. You Have Only Just Begun.|
Chapter 9 – The Listener -  My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak… (James 1:19, NIV).  This is the hard one for me. I want to jump right in and help right now, impatient am I, and I have to restrain my offer until I fully understand the issue.  THINKING one understands the issue is simply unprofessional and inadequate. One has to be very certain one understands the issue or the person being administered to might feel even more left out and not accept any offer of assistance from the chaplain, lord, or anyone else.}
{Lesson 13 – Traps to Avoid -    When I am asked about an area that I have no training or experience in, I will be honest and say, “I’m sorry, I have no experience there. I can give you some ideas or tips from scripture that you can study but if your problem is serious like you say it is, I can refer you to a professional better equipped to…
I could not help but think of our local lawyer run hospital making care decisions by rule for the patients in an area in which they have no training or experience and worse yet appreciation for another’s profession.  Worse yet, spiritual assistance and the Holy Grace have produced spiritual medical miracles time and time again – look what they are denying their patients!  It is tantamount to torture. In our small chapel I minister prayer requests between the reverent prayer and worship service and the sermon. No private prayer requests is my policy as the power of the congregation in prayer exceeds that of only me.  Last November a new attendee with a long standing and diagnosed inoperable thus lethal brain tumor submitted to God and prayer.  Today he is up and around and feeling fine and the doctors call it a miracle.  Is that chaplaincy or ministry?  I am not sure if there is a difference really, but it shows how the Lord listens and he provides “professional” Godly services to the worthy and open minded.
Appreciating the gifts other devoted and competent people can deliver to help one’s spiritual patient is part of our duty as is bringing God closer to the bedside by bringing the patient closer to God. |
Lesson 14 – Ceremonies -   An application meeting: This is where you meet with both persons. Ask them why they want a “religious” wedding ceremony. I find this to be a wonderful time to learn more about what the couple believes and why. Often this leads to friendships long after the wedding where I mentor them spiritually. I explain my policies for weddings. If the institution has any policies (use of chapel and grounds) also provide them as well. I would also give the couple a “data collection” form that I use to review in preparation for pre-marital counseling. 
I performed my first wedding of mixed faith partners in December.  Neither was really committed to ‘their religion’ but the parents demanded a “church wedding.”  So the question was to decline a church wedding or make it into an opportunity? Opportunity knocks is my business.  When the lesson 14 like process above was undertaken, and the congregation chipped in to make it a better wedding than the budget allowed for, and the wedding completed – AFTERWARDS – in a chance encounter the couple was exuberant in praise and gracious and generous with appreciation.  A light had been lit - I pray it stays so.}
From lesson 1: The Need is Great - There are hurting people everywhere.    A chaplain can help come along side those who are hurting. This unique minister is still viewed as the “keeper of the sacred” by those who are unattached to a religious congregation. A prayer, a word of advice, a simple ritual, and a touch of a caring hand does much for people who seem alone, detached, or afraid. I am reminded of the teaching of Jesus Christ who taught the parable of the sheep and goats: (Matthew 25:34-40, New King James Version).
Matthew 10:1-18 NKJV  “Jesus the Good Shepherd”  Chaplains and ministers many times stand at the gate with the responsibility of inviting many in need IN and explaining to them, ministering to them, as to why IN is better and for them.  The Mansions of God per John 14:1-5  ( …  many mansions … and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.)   The mansions have some fine doors (gates) and it is “our” duty to help as many as we can to have a place PREPARED ready and waiting and an Inviting  Light On in the window for when that time comes. 

Many people get ordained through the Universal Life Church as a means to become wedding officiants, but also to study through our online seminary.  If you need minister supplies or online ceremonies, we have a wide selection to choose from, as well as a place for spiritual articles and spiritual bookmarks. If you need any assistance in any area of your ministry, please feel free to contact and we'll give you all the help we can.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Druidism Course through the Universal Life Church

Final Essay – Druidism
Universal Life Church

I came to Druidism for the reasons of exploring my Celtic past and finding a spirituality that truly speaks to me.  I am new to Paganism and was not sure what I would find. I am thankful for the opportunity to expand my spiritual horizons and share them with others.

The course begins with an historical overview of ancient Druidism and its social context. Druidism was a Celtic religion and interpreted the cosmos in ways that Celtic peoples could understand. The myths interpreted the cosmos and the sacred rights influenced the cosmos. We may find some of the rites, such as human sacrifice, to be repulsive, but the Celts believed that they were necessary. The course gives a balanced account of the ancient druids without modern judgment.

Included in the explanation of ancient Druidism is an exhaustive list of the Celtic deities with explanations. The list includes Irish, Welsh, Scottish and Gallic deities with cross-references and comparisons to the other deities. This was the most intriguing part of the course, because it gave real insight into the culture of the ancient Celts.

The meat of the course is the lessons on the calendar, sabbats and the Ogham alphabet. Druidism is a heart a nature religion. As such, Druidism seeks balance and harmony with nature. The identifying thread of Druidism is that nature is particularly identified with trees. The Druids named both the calendar months and the alphabet after the same set of trees. Furthermore, the sabbats, or festivals, celebrate the yearly cycle of plant growth and death, which was connected by the druids to the larger cosmological cycle of life, death and rebirth. The key to understanding Druidism both ancient and modern is in understanding the wealth of relationships that each tree represents. As a modern druid, I put most of my effort into learning this part of the course.

The remaining portions of the Druidism course are concerned with the practices of modern druids. These practices include liturgies, druid magic and geomancy. The liturgy lesson provides the basic rites of a druid. The more interesting druid magic lesson contains some very helpful links to other sources of information on druid magic. The geomancy lesson requires hands-on practice to fully understand, and I still find it a little confusing. (I suspect that divination is not my best subject.) Thus, the beginning druid has the tools needed to begin a druidic ministry and links to continue the study of druidism.

My Celtic ancestors and love of nature drew me to the path of druidism. The Masters of Druidism course has given me the foundation to be a druid minister.

The Universal Life Church is a comprehensive online seminary where we have classes in Christianity, Wicca, Paganism, two courses in Metaphysics and much more. I have been a proud member of the ULC for many years as well as starting the Seminary.
The Universal Life Church offers handfasting ceremonies, funeral training, wedding ceremony training and free minister training.