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Everything posted by RevSam

  1. Good morning! This may kind-of tie in to my last entry, "Ministry in the 21st Century," but I think it also stands for itself: In the 21st century, we're arguably more connected to each other and the world than we ever have been before. I think that, in a most ways, its made us better people. I think anyone could say that, thanks to the connected world we live in, we're all exposed to things, culture, lifestyles and... anything else for that matter, than our ancestors were. Think about it for a second: Sixty years ago, it was quite common to get your news from the local paper,
  2. There is third party accreditation -- in the United States, it's regional accreditation. Most of those are private entities, or semi-public. For example, one of the regional accrediting agencies in my area is AdvancEd. --Rev. Samuel Universal Life Church of Michigan
  3. Well, let's keep it real: Government accreditation typically means the university or institute or degree program meets a certain staindard of rigor, education and training of the instructors themselves, even down to the safety and accessibility of the campus. Now, am I saying that it's not a self feeding machine, of course it is. But, you also have to admit, a Ph.D. in Religion from a regionally accredited school in the United States is not the same thing as the Ph.D. from the ULC. I'm not knocking it, hell, I have the ULC Ph.D. myself... but there is definitely a reason wh
  4. Thanks, Rev Tom; and likewise, Brother! Glad you came back after aforementioned hiatus!
  5. Thanks for the warm greeting! Funny, I work in insurance as well -- commercial title insurance, more specifically! I love officiating weddings, I've been lucky to do several -- and hope to do many more in the future! --Rev. Samuel Universal Life Church of Michigan
  6. Oh, The Voyage Home. Hands down. I like Picard better, don't get me wrong -- but if HBO was showing The Voyage Home, and Starz was showing First Contact.... ehh, I'm probably watching HBO. ;]
  7. I've already made a few posts, but I figured I might as well say "Hey!" to everyone while I was at it, so you could see who's behind the computer screen at my end. My name's Samuel; Sam, or 'Hey You!' works, too -- hailing from Metro Detroit. I've been a ULC-er since my junior year of high school -- 2002. I've largely been a pagan since, particularly Wicca, so the ULC suits my needs quite well. I've performed several marriages, in Wayne, Macomb and Genesee counties, and am familiar with many of the local Registers of Deeds, as my 9-5 job is in Title Insurance! So,
  8. I was speaking more of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster in that quote -- but look at the tenets of Jediism, too: They're not so much about the fictional/figurative war of the light and dark side from the movies, but more about the code that the Jedi from the movies ascribe to -- with some other additions to them, too, as I'm sure there's some individualistic license. This is what I was referring to. --Rev. Samuel Universal Life Church of Michigan
  9. The clergy have often been turned to in moments of moral or ethical crisis; from anything to a sounding board to asking "What do I do?" Particularly in times past. Sometimes, an individual needs to be able to speak to someone who isn't a friend, or to someone who is otherwise dispassionate on or is somehow removed from the situation in question. Today, particularly in the western world, people often speak to counselors, or psychologists/psychiatrists in moments where they feel in crisis. Therein is my point.
  10. I think it's safe to say that the role of religion and, in particular, that of the Minister has changed since its inception to today. Once, the Ministry was virtually the exclusive form of education of people -- scholars and theologians were often one in the same. Law and Religion were often one in the same, too. Morality and codification of rules were one in the same. The community was often centered around the house of worship -- and a sense of belonging to the greater whole often came from the rules and codification laid down by its religious authority] Skip ahead a few hundred yea
  11. Possibly. Just as possible they believe in the tenets of the religion as well -- maybe not so much in "the Flying Spaghetti Monster" itself, but in the values and the message the community gives. Like the ULC, for instance -- no centralized church dogma, only "that which is right." --Rev. Samuel Universal Life Church of Michigan
  12. Sam is good enough for me. I'll sign as "Rev. Sam" or "Rev. Samuel," but that or "Hey you," all works for me. I put my pants on the same way everyone else does, so I go with what people are most comfortable with.
  13. Looks nice on a minister's business card. Don't take it much further than that. It's only as good as the individual who wields it --just like any degree. I've know actual Ph.D.'s who had no common sense worth a damn, and honorary D.D.'s who are far more knowledgable. But then again, you've got idiots with honorary degrees similar to Malachi Love-Robinson who try to start up a medical practice with it... Use common sense with your credentials. --Rev. Samuel Universal Life Church of Michigan
  14. This is correct. I've solemnized marriage in the State of Michigan [two of them in Genesee County, actually]. The State has no registration requirement -- only that an individual solemnizing marriage on religious grounds be an ordained minister of a church or other religious society, authorized by the same to solemnize marriage, and complete the Michigan marriage license as per statute. -- Rev. Samuel Universal Life Church of Michigan
  15. If you have a friend or acquaintance in law enforcement -- or an attorney, I would speak to them. This would be a good question for someone who knows the laws surrounding these issues in your venue. Avail yourself of the people around you, and if there's a legitimate problem, do what you can to help that won't harm yourself, or anyone else. -- Rev. Samuel Universal Life Church of Michigan
  16. I call my informal association and ministry "The Universal Life Church of Michigan," as it is largely online; but largely in Michigan. It seems to be a common practice around the States, as well -- noting it by where the congregation draws its members from. --Rev. Samuel Universal Life Church of Michigan
  17. Greetings from across the Detroit River! :-) It couldn't hurt to speak to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. I wonder if they've considered taking the mantle of this on. It's certainly a valid point -- religion in the 21st century isn't what it was in the 19th; and many nations laws haven't kept up with the times. Maybe it's you who changes the law on it in Canada! -- Rev. Samuel Universal Life Church of Michigan
  18. You have a broad question, my friend, so I'll respond with a broad answer: "Recognized" for what, specifically? Conducting marriage? Simple services of the ministry? The right to call yourself a Minister of the Church? If it's the last couple, that's definitely not a problem; that's an Establishment Clause issue. As to solemnizing marriage, that's a civil issue, and is a matter of law. Brother Kaman's recommendation is a good one. I would speak to your county's clerk -- or whoever is the guarantor of the vital records in your venue; and there's not thing wrong with getting
  19. in my humble opinion, and it's worth exactly that -- Anything told to you "with the collar on" [for lack of a better term] should stay with you, forever -- unless they give you specific approval to discuss it otherwise. As a Minister, you're in a position of trust, and their trust in you should extend beyond their life in this world. If they're no longer in this world with us -- they don't have the ability to give you the permission to discuss the matter, so I wouldn't, usually. Not privy to the specifics of the matter you find yourself in conflict over, I'll say this much: use your b
  20. Your question is simple -- but the cool thing is, the options are many: The first thing you need to consider: non-profit, or profit? There's nothing wrong with making a living, particularly if its well understood that that's what you're doing. But, there's nothing wrong with non-profit, either. It's a noble, wonderful thing. But, before you start putting pen to paper on organizing anything, particularly on a legal standpoint -- decide if you're going to be working and earning money, or if you're giving this away to people, in exchange for donations or something along those lines. Get
  21. "Minister" is a good neutral, but still religious title -- that way, there's no misrepresentation. That's the one I use when I fill out marriage licenses. One thing that sets you apart from others, though: "The Reverend" is not a title, it is an honorific, like "Sir," or "Mister," or "Mrs." or "The Honorable." Knowing the difference shows you know what you're doing. For instance, if you wanted to know why a woman got married, people don't typically ask "Why did you become a Mrs?" Same kinda thing here -- Reverend is an honorific, "Minister" is the profession. When someone asks why so
  22. [waves from across the Detroit River] Speak to the county clerk -- or the ministry in the province that handles and is charged with vital records. They will likely have specific requirements and criteria for who can solemnize marriage. Keep us updated! --Rev. Sam Universal Life Church of Michigan
  23. I tend to agree. I've performed marriages in Michigan -- and the marriage license's preamble [again, in Michigan] reads thusly: "To any person legally authorized to solemnize marriage in the State of Michigan, Greeting; marriage may be solemnized within 30 days of date of issue in the State of Michigan, between... [names of individuals, etc etc etc]." That said, your state or venue may allow something completely different. In the State of Michigan, you can apply for a marriage license in one county, and be married in any other in the State, but it has to be in the State. Have