How can I become an ordained minister?
Studying at a seminary isn't the only way to become an ordained minister.
You can sign up on a web site and immediately be a minister. Not everyone finds the Web's path legitimate from a spiritual
perspective, but it's usually legal in the United States.
Perhaps the most popular instant-minister organization is the Universal Life Church (ULC). The ULC used to advertise in the back of magazines like Rolling
Stone. All you had to do was mail in a self-addressed stamped envelope in order to become a minister. With the advent
of the Internet, you're only a few clicks away from holy orders.
Founded by Kirby James Hensley in 1959 in Modesto, California, the ULC is about as non-denominational and
non-dogmatic as a church can be. This group espouses no particular theology and simply requests that its ministers "do that
which is right." Ministers can decide what is "right" for themselves. As of 2002, the ULC has ordained some 5 million ministers.
To ordain yourself online, simply go to any of the ULC sites such as ULC.org, ULC.net, or the ULC HQ, and look for the "ordination" link. Then supply your full name and address,
and -- presto! -- you're a minister. Some of the sites provide a printable credential, while others will mail you a paper
Is this legal? Generally, yes. A ULC minister can legally perform weddings
and sign a marriage license, just like any other minister, rabbi, or religious official. In most U.S. states, any minister
can solemnize a marriage as long as he or she is in good standing with his or her church. Many state laws simply declare that weddings can be performed by "any currently ordained
clergyman or religious authority of any religious denomination or society."
However, several states have additional requirements. In Arkansas, Delaware,
Louisiana, Oklahoma, New York (for weddings in New York City only), and Virginia, ministers must register their name and address
with the state or county, or present a copy of their credentials to a state or county office before they can perform weddings
(specifics vary among these states). The states of Nevada, Ohio, and Rhode Island each license their ministers. Tennessee's requirements might restrict ULC ministers because the state
specifies that ordination must be a "considered, deliberate, and responsible act." -- From Ask Yahoo!