HOW TO START A CONGREGATION
If you are a duly ordained minister
and pastor of a congregation of the Universal Life Church, the
first thing you must do as a Pastor is obtain a record keeping
book and conduct a meeting of the Board of Directors of your local
congregation, to discuss the operation of your congregation. Decide
where and when you should hold congregation meetings. These meetings
can be held in your home, a rented meeting space, or you may decide
to build your own building.
You and the Board of Directors need
to decide how often you should hold meetings (weekly or monthly).
The Secretary needs to keep accurate records of how many meetings
the congregation has and how many people attend the meetings for
inclusion on the required monthly congregational reports which
must be sent to International Headquarters.
The most important aspect of pastoring
a congregation are the services and sacraments you provide for
the congregation. We do not dictate to the congregation what kind
of services to hold. We do suggest that you have literature, i.e.,
the Bible, Koran, or one of the many different Bibles available.
The order of the meeting will be up to you and the congregation
Board of Directors. Some suggestions are that when you do meet,
you might like to pray, salute the flag, have music and singing,
or read from other sources. At International Headquarters the
Pastor usually speaks first followed by an open meeting where
others may speak and bring forth their beliefs.
As a Pastor, with your own congregation,
there are different sacraments you may perform. One such sacrament
is Baptism. Three types of Baptism you may use are 1) total emersion,
2) the sprinkling method, 3) the laying on of hands. Baptism is
mostly identified by water and a ceremony.
Another sacrament is the performance
of weddings. We advise, and encourage, you to do weddings. It
is a good source of income for the congregation and is something
all ministers do. You, and the couple, may write your own ceremony
or use one of the two beautiful rites we can send you.
Another popular service is the ordainment
of new ministers. If we take the scriptures, using St. John 15:16,
you will find that God, the Supreme Intelligence, or whatever
name you wish to use, has called the person and ordained him.
The ceremony you perform, either by the laying on of hands, or
words, is merely confirming what is already done. The Universal
Life Church goes between the person and the state and issues a
license by the state. The Universal Life Church does not go between
the person and his/her God.
At your Board of Directors meeting of
the congregation, an important aspect you need to discuss is how
to finance this congregation. One of the best ways is to promote
the suggestions and materials offered by the Universal Life Church.
The congregation may use the discount program which earns the
congregation 50% of all profit from the materials we offer.