What it means to be part of The Universal Life Church
The Universal Life Church takes very seriously the goal of its founder, Reverend Kirby James Hensley: to create a church for all people. From ordaining ministers, to preaching to the masses, the church seeks to be inclusive as possible. There are no restrictive religious dogmas associated with the church. Having strict doctrines tends to limit membership to those who agree, and can fulfill, those requirements. Instead, the organization only requires that all of its ministers and members “do that which is right.”
History of the Universal Life Church
In 1959, the Reverend Kirby James Hensley founded the ULC in Modesto, California. A member of the Pentecostal Church, Hensley studied religion and concluded that people had a right to determine their own beliefs. Universal Life allows people of any faith to join and become ordained. Hensley wanted to supersede the strict regulations of other religions and churches that made it difficult, if not impossible, for most people to become ordained. If one felt a calling to the ministry, then that person should do the work, thought Kirby. The church welcomes people as ministers and members regardless of religious affiliation, race, gender, or economic class. When a person joins the church, they do not have to relinquish, or even disclose, their religion. The organization never even asks about religious affiliation because the church has no doctrines that contradict any other beliefs.
Ordination in the Universal Life Church
There are over 20 million ministers in the church. Getting ordained means you have accepted the call to spread good will to others. Today, those who follow the calling can be ordained through the church website, or through an official affiliate website. Ministers receive a certificate of ministry and possess all legal rights given to any other minister within the United States. Because the church has no official doctrines, except “do that which is right,” members of any faith may seek ordination as a minister without a conflict of interest. The Universal Life Church provides a legal ordination to perform good works, such as officiating weddings, once only possible for justices of the peace and clergy sanctioned by certain recognized religions. The ULC has democratized ordination, making it possible for anyone, with a calling to the ministry, to help spread the good life.
Open to all
Universal Life membership is open to all. The church believes in the First Amendment right to religious freedom. The church does not force members to accept all religions. A member may believe that one faith is a better choice; however, the church asks that all members respect the religious decisions of others. As long as a faith does no harm to society, then it is welcome within the Universal Life umbrella.