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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Universal LIfe Church - What's the real ULC?

The Universal Life Church was founded during 1959, in Modesto, CA by Kirby Hensley. In order for the freedom of religion to stay protected, Kirby felt it must be asserted. Kirby promised to ordain all who asked, free of charge, no questions asked.

There have always been those of much more traditional Big Dog churches, who complained incessantly that to become a reverend, 1 must have years of training, be approved by a committee as well as comply with strict doctrinal standards. Naturally, those same people had no response after it was brought to their attention that Peter and Paul and the rest of the disciples received no seminary training. What is conveniently ignored by the same group are the increasing headlines regarding approved and trained priests who've been caught in acts of unbelievable abuse to children under their pastoral care. Due to such roadblocks, many good people have stayed away from their ministry.
Many other churches still bar women from preaching, even in the 21st century!

Becoming ordained ought to be a personal decision, between you and The Supreme Being (or just you and yourself), so Kirby established the Universal Life Church to make that happen. Fairly quickly, the Universal Life Church, as it was known worldwide, has evolved and expanded in popularity and size. The church has become well-known and established over the years, enough that many well-known proudly proclaim their membership, as well as having the ULC be used as part of the plot on numerous television shows. When people talk about the Universal Life Church, it is the original Modesto headquarters that people are talking about.

Sadly, but not surprisingly, that level of notoriety continues to attract multiple con artists who make use of the good name of the ULC to try and line their own pockets. 
Like the scammers who sell fake Rolex watches calling them "Romex", these charlatans created spin-offs using similar- sounding names, some of them even utilizing the name from the original church, but attaching other words like "network" or "monastery".  It never occurred to Kirby that people would do such dishonest things or how easily it could be done over the internet so he never trademarked the name Universal Life Church and even suggested the use of the name by new congregations, expecting them to use it honestly. If he'd have foreseen how vulnerable that would leave the ULC and how frequently the dishonesty would continue to happen on the internet, Im certain he wouldve taken steps to head this off.

Using UPS maildrops or operating out of trailer parks (which can be confirmed using google maps), these fakers not only are claiming they belong to the ULC, but that they ARE the original Universal Life Church. Using all types of tricks and word games to garner some Google-love, some have even managed to climb well up in the search engine listings, which have resulted in tons of ministers who assume they've been ordained by the Universal Life Church of Modesto, but who had been really dealing with 1 of these unscrupulous groups.

Making matters worse, the truth seems to have taken on a different meaning for these radical groups. They tell ministers that they must buy credentials in order to be legal. That, naturally, is only a partial truth. Only a small number of states require you to show a credential and thats ONLY should you want to perform a wedding. The majority of states require nothing. It's certainly not required for anything except for conducting a wedding. Authentic ULC sites know this and wouldnt dream of pressuring you to order anything. In fact, authentic ULC sites give a great deal of stuff away at no cost.

One much-complained-about scammer pushes people to purchase credentials and letters of good standing as requirements both for ordination through his Exclusive Christian-only site, and because he claims it is legally needed to conduct ceremonies in all states. The number of states that require the letter is very small and Modesto will send the letters free of cost. The only exceptions are for the few states that require a notarized letter there is then a fee for the notary.

Currently, the ULC has two official websites. Established during 1997, is the oldest active authorized website for the church. It provides an online application for ordination, an active forum, a directory of ministers and congregations (listing with the directory is optional), a reading library, support desk, prayer request page and an online bookstore in which ministers are able to find ceremony books and additional items to help them with their ministry. There's even an online confessional. The other official site is that of the administrative headquarters office, which is still located in Modesto, California. It may be found at The ULC Seminary is another respected site and also offers various items of interest to ULC ministers, and is affiliated with the true church in Modesto Its a well-established and respected site. With both the Bookstore and the Seminary, the advice is free and they are there to answer their phones and offer support.

Be cautious of any othe sites. There are some additional honest sites, created by ULC ministers, but any other site that claims to really BE the Universal Life Church is attempting to lead you astray. If it did happen that you inadvertently went to 1 of the other sites, be kind to yourself about it. Youre far from the first theyve deceived and they make it their business to do it.

You are able to easily verify the truth for yourself. Corporate records are available to the public so you can verify any which claim to BE the Universal Life Church. Find the state out of which they operate then look at the Secretary of States records. If you look at the records in CA, youll find the original Universal Life Church was incorporated during 1962 as being a non-profit. (While the ULC did begin operations in 1959, Kirby didnt incorporate until 1962.) Youll find that the spin-offs only started up a few years ago, if the others can be found at all. If anyone tells you that you must buy merchandise in order

The Universal Life Church has opened the way for many to become ordained and to follow their dreams and are pleased that so many others have taken up the torch to assure that same freedom. Hundreds of churches today began to model their ordination processes after the ULC, which has been great to see. Real ULC Churches support the ideal of doing that which is right, and will clearly and honestly state their intentions and mission as well as doing what they can to distinguish themselves. But there will remain people who find it easier to simply lift a well-known name, knowing that many individuals will never bother to check into it --At least not until it's too late, and they have been separated from their money!

Please do your homework. Seek ordination from a reputable source and find the site which make you feel good to visit it.

Kevin Andrews invites individuals to become a minister through his authorized ULC site. Amy Long also runs a legitimate Universal Life Church site, which is affiliated with ULC Headquarters in Modesto, CA.

The Universal Life Church is a comprehensive online seminary where we have classes in Christianity, Wicca, Paganism, two courses in Metaphysics and much more. I have been a proud member of the ULC for many years and the Seminary since its inception.

The Universal Life Church offers handfasting ceremonies, funeral ceremonies and free minister training.
As a long time member of ULC, Rev. Long created the seminary site to help train our ministers. We also have a huge selection of Universal Life Church  minister supplies. Since being ordained with the Universal Life Church for so many years and it's Seminary since the beginning, I've watch the huge change and growth that has continued to happen.
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