About the Universal Life Church
The Universal Life Church (ULC) is a non-denominational religious organization that brings together
people from all walks of life. We embrace individuals across the spiritual spectrum; anyone who
wants to join our body of faith is welcome to do so. Further, the ULC is proud to open its doors
to all people, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, or any other defining
characteristic. Since the organization's founding, we've provided legal ordination to over 20
million ministers worldwide.
The ULC has only two core tenets that ministers must uphold:
- Do only that which is right.
- Every individual is free to practice their religion however they like as long as their
actions do not impinge upon the rights or freedoms of others and are in accordance
with the law.
The ULC champions religious freedom, social justice, and spiritual expression. We never waver in our
conviction that performing spiritual duties is a right that all should share, and we will always
stand up for our minister-members in this regard. Furthermore, we’ve made it our mission to spread
these freedoms far and wide, empowering people of all walks of life to take up the work of ministry
on their own terms, and in ways that make the most sense for them.
Whether that means worshiping one God, or many gods; whether you choose to perform one spiritual
ceremony a year or twenty – we stand with you. In short: the ULC welcomes you just as you are,
whoever you are and hopes to empower you to explore your faith however you see fit.
The Universal Life Church Ministries (ULCM) is philosophically descended from some of the ideas of
the Universal Life Church founded in the 1950s by Kirby Hensley. That original Modesto ULC was
accused of some unethical practices. The ULCM has no links to that earlier organization, and
instead is focused on upholding positive values and promoting justice and equality worldwide.
Our church seeks to create a large tent for people of all different spiritual beliefs and backgrounds
to thrive beneath. This peaceful coexistence of faith traditions is dependent upon certain founding
ideals that guide everything we do. For example, by rejecting the strict rules and requirements
common among more traditional religious organizations, the ULCM encourages people to pursue their
own spiritual paths – free of unwanted impositions.
This means welcoming members from across the spectrum of spiritual beliefs, whether Jewish or
Atheist, Christian or Hindu, Muslim or Pagan. Our millions of ministers work to support marginalized
and oppressed groups in the spirit of Christ, King, Kennedy, and Gandhi. Unlike other large
international churches, we do not require our ministers or congregants to show deference to any
central leadership or hierarchy, and we believe in equality among all members. The ULCM very
intentionally has no hierarchy, nor does it ask its members to follow arbitrary demands for the
sake of tradition, such as taking religious tests. Our belief is that everyone is equal, and it’s
important to treat people that way.
Woven into this guiding belief is the wider battle for equality and justice the ULC has been proud
to spearhead. The Church has secured crucial wins for religious freedom by standing up for its
members and demanding the rights bestowed upon them are fully recognized.
ULC ministers were also closely involved with the movement for marriage equality and were proud to
officiate some of the first same-sex weddings following that important victory.
The ULC supports many organizations that work for oppressed or underrepresented individuals.
We are very proud of the work and victories that we've helped to win in areas such as
religious freedom and the legalization of same-sex marriage. We are proud to donate to these
causes and help be a force for change. In line with our motto that “we are all children of
the same universe,” the ULC supports a range of charitable organizations that strive to make
the world freer and more equal for all of Earth’s citizens.
Legal Battles Won by the ULC
Over the years, the Universal Life Church has made it part of its mission to defend the
rights and freedoms of its ministers. And with those efforts have come many important
victories! By choosing not to back down and to fight for that which is right, the ULC – and
its ministers – have helped to secure a better future for all who value freedom and
We hold no deity (or deities) over another – in our view, all belief systems are equally
valuable. In fact, our researchers have determined that all of the faiths in human history
are, over time, condensing into our one universal faith. Furthermore, as a member of the
ULC, there are no loyalty tests or rings to kiss. We never demand allegiance from our
members, and we eschew the tithing practices used by most traditional churches.
For Our Ordained Ministers
Although some people get ordained in order to perform weddings for friends or family members, there
is a lot more to being a ULC minister than simply officiating weddings, although we certainly provide
thorough explanations for that too. We offer a whole host of resources to help our ministers better
understand the many options available to them. This includes comprehensive step-by-step guides covering
the ordination process,
state marriage laws, and many more. In addition,
anybody that requires a minister for their event can use the
Find a Minister
tool on Get Ordained™ to search for a minister that is best able to suit their needs. ULC ministers
frequently celebrate baptisms, officiate at funerals, and become leaders of faith in their own
communities. Here on our website, ministers can find:
Our Newsletter: The Visionary
The Universal Life Church Ministries is proud to regularly publish a newsletter focusing on the
latest developments around topics like religion, marriage, and culture that all our ministers are
eligible to receive. You can also view previous issues from our archive
to dive into everything that The Visionary has to offer.
If you’re interested but haven’t yet subscribed, please
click here to sign up.
What We’ve Accomplished
We are proud of our past achievements, such as fighting for religious freedom and the
legalization of same-sex marriage.
We plan to continue to ordain ministers to empower people to take control of their own
spiritual life. The ULC also fights for the rights of its ordained ministers to ensure that
everyone has the right to religious freedom. The battle to ensure that people in all 50 states
are allowed to become ministers never ends under the United States' antiquated legal system.
Our ministry will also continue to support marriage equality and fight for the rights of people
to marry any individual they choose. Obergefell v Hodges was a major victory, but those
freedoms won should not be taken for granted.
Celebrating love is a great way to keep this top of mind. For example, in December of 2012,
the Universal Life Church hosted a first-of-its-kind mass wedding event for members and ordained
ministers of the ULC. At this "December to Remember", 20 couples — both gay and straight — were
joined together in matrimony in front of their universal family.
The event was initially planned to celebrate the legalization of same-sex marriage in Washington
State, but — like the ULC — was open to people of any sexual orientation or specific ideology.
The chain of weddings started at 10 AM and the celebrations carried on throughout the day and
into the night! The event was a testimony to the power of love and the triumph of our universal
brother and sisterhood over all else.
The Future of the ULC
And those are all efforts we plan to continue! We will not rest until all of our brothers and
sisters around the world have the right to worship and love as they see fit.
Looking forward, we are also concerned about the future of the planet, particularly the impacts
of issues like climate change and population growth.
In a broader sense, we believe that humanity is facing critical challenges such as mass
migration, starvation, and global pandemics, and that we must work together to address these
problems through global initiatives. One interesting idea is a worldwide United Nations
Planetary Defense System to guard the Earth from threats like asteroid and comet strikes.
The Presiding Chaplain of the ULC Monastery is George Freeman, who has been with the
organization since 1977. Chaplain Freeman believes that as explorers by nature, humans should
focus their efforts on searching for God in the universe.
We hope to provide a voice to those whose freedoms are being violated, not only in the United
States, but around the world. We would love to have you join us in our quest for universal
peace, because it's only in our togetherness that positive change can be achieved.
We are all children of the same universe.