The Universal Life Church has a remarkably simple mission: to support religious freedom and advocate for good around the world. The ULC is one of several American ministries that exist as non-profit interfaith and non-denominational churches dedicated to preserving the right for all people to marry, and to be married by the person of their choice.
Many couples are looking to underscore the intimacy of their decision to marry by asking someone close to them to officiate at the ceremony. While being asked is a tremendous honor, the task comes with certain responsibilities. The primary job is to become legal to perform the wedding ceremony. Fortunately, one may apply easily online and be ordained free of charge with the Universal Life Church and in doing so become licensed to officiate American marriage ceremonies in a short time.
Specific religious affiliation is not a requirement to receive your ordination with marriage ministries like the Universal Life Church. All are welcome to apply to be ordained. A spiritual path that recognizes ritual and ceremony as part of our collective experience may be defined in many different ways. Marriage ministries like the Universal Life Church enable people to participate directly in the expression of these rites.
Making it Official
The Universal Life Church offers people the opportunity to be ordained to perform wedding ceremonies because it is our mission to help preserve the right for all people to marry. It is a way to exercise the 21st century right to the protection of religious practices, as outlined in the First Amendment. No state can prohibit ordination so long as it is done in good faith, although states can impose additional licensing requirements. As for the ceremony itself, here are the basic elements:
The Invocation. This is the introduction, a way to acknowledge that the ceremony has begun and is being performed before witnesses. The Declaration of Intent. Typically, this are the questions that are asked of the couple, the "Do you take " part. The Pronouncement. This piece announces the completion of the rite, and therefore the transition of the couple from their former life to their new one together.
While most ceremonies will include these sections in some form, the content itself may reflect the individual tastes and attitudes of each couple. As the officiant, you may assist in the design of the ceremony. American ministries like the Universal Life Church offer support for how to create a ceremony tailored to the needs and wishes of the couple. Of course, the couple may have plenty of their own ideas, starting with the decision to ask you to officiate. As long as there is some sort of invocation, declaration, and pronouncement, the ceremony will suit its intended purpose: to acknowledge a union between two people in front of witnesses, thereby forming their legal bond.
In the United States, there are 21 states in which an ordained minister may perform a marriage ceremony with no additional license to marry people. Elsewhere, some additional paperwork may be required. It is important to check both state and local laws, as some individual counties have specific guidelines for licensing. Our Universal Life Church websites offers assistance with finding out how to navigate different state regulations in solemnizing American marriage, should they apply.
Online Flexibility for Modern Times
American marriage is undergoing significant changes. Ministries like the Universal Life Church offer the opportunity to become ordained online to perform weddings between all people who desire marriage, in all places where it is legal to do so, and by whomever wishes to do it. The experience of becoming legally wed in front of friends and family remains an essential rite for many, and the Universal Life Church is dedicated to supporting that experience.