What does ordination mean? Definition of Ordination:
The Universal Life Church has ordained over 20 million people around the world. But what does that mean? Ordination can be interpreted in numerous different ways, and it’s quite understandable that such a broad concept can create some confusion. So, what is the meaning of ordination?
In essence, ordination is a special act of consecration conferred by a religious body upon an individual member. Ordination typically grants some form of leadership status, and empowers individuals who receive this status to carry out official clergy duties – such as performing ceremonies – under the banner of that faith organization.
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Ordination is a Universal Concept
The concept of ordination is not particular to any one religion; in fact, it exists across a wide variety of belief systems and has been practiced for centuries. Over the course of human history, various religious branches, denominations within those religions, and independent church bodies have developed unique processes for carrying out this sacred act.
Some belief systems endorse the view that ordination means one has been selected or anointed by God (or some other higher power). Following from this belief, therefore, ordination sets an individual apart as sacred or special – destined to do great works for the community and for their system of faith.
Others take the view that ordination is simply an elevated status that signals an individual is willing to take on greater responsibility within their faith and the community at large.
What Is the Rite of Ordination?
The rite of ordination is the ceremony or symbolic service that welcomes a new clergy member. Just as understanding of ordination can vary from one religious body to another, so can the rite of ordination. Some faiths have elaborate and sacred ceremonies when bringing in new members of the clergy. Others choose a more simplistic route, offering the newly-initiated the opportunity to mark the occasion in their own ways.
Because the Universal Life Church Ministries provides ordination online, there are no formal ceremonies involved. Upon ordination, we simply urge our ministers to get out in the community and begin doing good, in whatever fashion best suits them as they take control of their religious and spiritual life.
How Does Ordination Work?
The process of ordination can look quite different from one faith to the next, but every belief system employs its own methods for ordaining members and welcoming them as ministers.
Mind you, this wasn’t always an easy club to join. Throughout history, there were no shortage of barriers to becoming ordained. Just to be eligible for clergy hood, people usually had to study religious texts and other materials for years, not to mention they needed to have the funds to pay for expensive educational courses and tests. Oh, and they had to be of the “right” sex and hold the “right” beliefs.
Ordination in many “traditional” churches still include several such barriers today. It also requires members to conform to the specific rules and standards set by church doctrine and leadership – regardless of how strict those may be, or how closely they align with the individual’s own views.
Offering Ordination to All
ULC’s online ordination process provides a stark contrast to this archaic and exclusionary interpretation of ordination by welcoming anyone who feels so-called to join its universal global ministry – no fees, no formal education, no tests required.
The Universal Life Church believes that every individual should feel empowered to captain their own spiritual ship, and deserves to enjoy the benefits of ordination regardless of their race, class, gender, sexual orientation, or any other aspect of their identity that might be disqualifying in the eyes of some more traditional religious bodies .
The ULC accepts everyone just as they are. Coming to the assistance of others in their time of need is a universal attribute, for example. Nothing special is required to be a caring individual, an individual who listens well and acts in the best interests of others.
Sincerity is the key in ordination. It does not matter which belief system one holds. The ULC allows each of its ministers to make decisions at the individual level, so long as they conform with the two guiding tenets of the church: to promote freedom of religion, and to do that which is right.
It is the duty of the individual to determine what is right, so long as their actions do not infringe on the rights of others and are within the bounds of the law.
We trust that this discourse will help you to have a clearer understanding of ordination and your responsibilities as an ordained minister.
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