One of the things I always wanted to obtain, was legal ordination. I, like many others have been ordained via the Universal Life Church Headquarters in Modesto California.
Somewhere in my head I had this silly thought that since it was easily obtained, it was not as valid. I also had some goofy idea in my head that something so easily obtainable could not possibly be recorded permanently anywhere or that my ordination was not taken care of properly because it was 'free' So I forgot about it.
I lived a whole lot of life between the time I applied for ordination with the ULC. Within that time I was officially ordained as a Priestess in an Irish Pagan Tradition. However, that ordination was not 'legal." Does that mean that it was not important or sacred and profound? Absolutely not! Does it mean that any and all spiritual training I have undergone via teachers or self study was worthless? NO! My ordination then was was one of the pivotal points in my life and one that I will forever hold in awe and reverence. Even if I am not an active member of that group anymore. Still, something in me had the yearning to be legally ordained.
Somewhere in 2012 I decided to seek what I thought would be 'real' ordination. Something that required some form of class or something, (in other words something to make my ego feel like I had earned it) I found a church that offered a class and ordination for a nominal fee of 10.00 and I jumped at the chance. I took the course, passed with flying colors and received a digital ordination credential. All online. Just like ULC except ordination through ULC is free and does not require a class, so I deluded myself into thinking it was not valid. Silly Me! Well as time passed I realized my own spiritual beliefs, among other things didn't match with this other church, and I left. Now, don't mistake me, it is a lovely place and I met some great people there while I was active with them. For myself, it was just not as perfect a fit as I had originally thought. So I began to look around for other alternatives.
Well, as with anything on the internet there are all kinds of options for everything under the sun and 'legal ordination' is one of them. Of course ULC was still in my head. They were the first to issue free online ordination after all. As I went and looked around the headquarters website, I had misgivings. Why? They were based on esthetics, and that alone. The ULC website is dated a bit, no real bells or whistles, so ... I was put off. Still as I looked around at other options I really liked the fact that the ULC doesn't promote anything other than religious freedom. Everyone is welcome, no matter who you are or what you believe as long as you don't infringe on the rights of others.
So on the full wolf moon of January, (the first anniversary of my own dedication to the Sacred Divine!) I applied for ordination via the real ULC headquarters site at http://www.ulchq.com (not to be confused with ulchq.org...totally different people!) The next day I received an email from Rev. Andre Hensley stating the following:
We have received the below request for ordination. While processing this
request we have located another record with the same name. Could you have
previously used an address in Hominy OK in 2007?
Well, this surprised me. You mean this place actually kept records? AND they verified new applications before just issuing an ordination? The thing was, I knew I had applied with this church for ordination years ago under my maiden name so I inquired again saying:
Yes I did used to live in Hominy, OK. I did not realize records were kept so very well. This is embarrassing but I may have an ordination with you under my maiden name. Which is Laurie Patricia O'Neal. I believe this was made from Washington State around the year 2000. I have moved and lived abroad and married and had kids since then. Forgive me for having what I politely term "mommy brain."
To my utter amazement I received the following in reply:
We do have a Laurie Patricia O'Neal in Sacramento CA. Could this be you?
As I confirmed that that was in fact me, I found out that they had maintained record of my ordination from May 19, 1997. I had been legally ordained almost twenty years!
What did I learn from all of this? The only thing that had been wrong with my ULC ordination was my thinking that it was worthless because it was easy to get. I spent years searching for something that I already had. And in truth, ordination is a personal spiritual matter. The only one who require legal documentation of such things are states and governments. And for the most part, the only reason you need that is to be able to legally officiate weddings. And let's be honest again, the only reason weddings need to be legally officiated primarily for Tax purposes.
I spent nearly twenty years trying to fix what was not broken. As is usual for myself I was making things difficult that did not have to be difficult. I did this by thinking I needed to be able to boast about some kind of lengthy formal study, yet I failed to recognize all the study I had actually done over my lifetime as valuable. I wanted to be special. Well that is a bratty attitude to have, not to mention exclusionary. If there is one thing I want to promote in my life it is oneness and unity. As a lifelong witch part of my belief is that there is no person or thing between anyone and divinity. No one needs a priest or minister or pastor to connect with the Divine. We can all do that anytime and anywhere.
Similarly, everyone has the right to legal ordination and you can get that through many places but you can get it free and for life, through the first and ORIGINAL Universal Life Church, Modesto California. http://www.ulchq.com