I'd like to take this opportunity to Welcome you to the forum! Thank you for joining and I hope you'll find our little Family of Friends to be a place you come home to on a regular basis. We always enjoy new perspectives and fresh ideas, so let's hear yours! Blessings of Peace, Al
Greetings Brethren and Sistren! My name is Rev. Patrick Dieter and I have been ordained since the early Seventies, but I re-solemnized my ordination in about 1997. I had a ULC Congregation on the Island of Maui for almost three years, though I eventually moved on to other expressions of spirit for a while. In terms of operations, all my private income was donated to the church, which was then applied to owning and maintaining a sacristy, vehicle, etc. I did not pay any private salaries, nor did the church generate any money other than donations. I filed my taxes honestly and openly, and at the time, the IRS was apparently just fine with things. In fact, there was a full audit later which also did not call this stuff into question. I recently had a major spiritual revelation that has inspired me to reclaim my role as Minister, and apply my clinically-trained counseling skills as well as my 50 PLUS years in professional music to the Calling. The good news is that I know exactly what I want to be, do and express with this ministry. What I don't know is what may have changed in the past 17 years. At the time, we were able to be a congregation as long as we formed a board, and did all the other goodies in that edition of Zondervan's Guide. It appears that the US Government has "tightened the screws" quite a bit in terms of what they are willing to call a "legitimate" church or congregation. Are there any fellow Reverends here that can give me a sort of "quick and dirty" overview of what is (and is not) possible these days? I'm not totally invested in being able to have the same tax privileges I had back then, but I most definitely DO want the church to be able to shelter any spiritual counseling, laying on of hands, retreats, seminars, etc. without running afoul of the government or any licensing agencies. Since I was a professional counselor for many years, I am already familiar with the Mandated Reporting rules regarding child, elder, incapacitated person abuse. I am going to grab a new Zondervan's today and bone up, but I would LOVE to know the "inside story" in terms of any court cases that occurred, challenges survived, etc. Great to be back in touch with the ULC!