Many ministers ordained online in the Universal Life Church Monastery come to us seeking advice on the legal status of their ordination, how to find clients in search of a wedding officiant, and how to be a better minister overall. The main concern often pertains to the technicalities of how to celebrate the rites of a minister, including weddings, baptisms, funerals, etc. However, being a minister is not just about carrying out these rites; indeed, perhaps the most important part of a reverend’s ministry is to tend to the needs of the poor and sick. It may not be a materially profitable task, but it can certainly be a spiritually fruitful one.
One ULCM bishop, Marcus Croman, of Kitsap County, Washington, has taken a rather creative and resourceful approach to proving how rewarding it can be to help the needy. After finding out how many homeless children went to school in North Kitsap, he told his wife, Tonya, that he wanted to buy an old ambulance and use it to hand out food to the homeless. In Tonya’s words, “He’s constantly thinking there’s got to be another way, a better way out there to do this to help.” On a recent trip in their new mission, the couple stocked their new vehicle with 22-gallon containers filled with fourty sack lunches, which the couple had prepared themselves. The Cromans even paid for the meals and used ingredients donated from Tonya’s catering business. Marcus plans to make their efforts a part of a non-profit organization he recently started, Kingston Rescue Mission, which was recently approved by the state.
Do the Cromans have an ulterior motive, like some religious charities and non-profit organizations which lure the homeless into worship services in exchange for feeding them? Apparently, the cheif purpose of the Cromans’ ministry is to show the indigent that they are cared for: “Marcus Croman said that his mission while on the streets isn’t to preach. It’s to reach out to those uncomfortable with, or unable to visit, a food bank.” For Croman, the homeless do not necessarily need to be saved, nor do they need to hear a sermon—they simply need food, and it is through this act of giving itself that the Cromans fulfill their spiritual duty to their fellow man and woman.
But don’t feel as though your voice has no purpose—giving to the needy can always be supplemented with prayers and sermons, and these latter endeavors serve to increase social awareness, bolster one’s personal commitment to the cause, and emphasize the need for intervention. Whatever approach one takes, giving is a very simple act, but a highly rewarding one for young clergy members who seek a depth of purpose behind their work. If you too are searching for this elusive sense of purpose, don’t limit yourself to the same ministerial routine—volunteer in your community, orchestrate a charitable effort, or start up your own charity. Help the less fortunate to get to the same place you are. If we are on this earth for any reason, surely this is it.