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How Can I Be Ordained to Marry People?

Updated February 21, 2017

Becoming an ordained minister is not as difficult as it used to be. While it is still an option to spend years studying at a college or university followed by seminary training to be ordained traditionally, the Internet has created a new boom in ordinations. Online ordination grants the ordained the power to legally perform weddings and many other religious rites, all typically within a few minutes of submitting registration.

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  1. Choose an ordination organisation. A traditional seminary requires an application with references, acceptance and years of study. Each religious house has its own rules and traditions that must be fulfilled in order to be ordained as well. A much quicker option is being ordained as a minister online. Two of the most popular sites are the Universal Life Church and Rose Ministries. The ULC offers free and instant ordination online. Rose Ministries offers packages including a certificate, ministry I.D. card and other useful paperwork all for a fee.

  2. Read the Frequently Asked Questions area on the ordination website carefully. Confirm in the FAQ you meet or will meet all specifications regarding your state's requirements for wedding officiants. Also verify you agree with any terms listed to become ordained by the organisation.

  3. Proceed with filling out the personal information requested which will at minimum include your full legal name, current mailing address and e-mail address.

  4. Submit the application. For the ULC, your information will be verified before the ordination is recorded after which you will be notified. For other sites, like Rose Ministries, ordination is complete once all your information is verified and documentation will be mailed to you.

  5. Warning

    There has been a whirlwind of controversy surrounding the validity of ordinations performed online. A court ruling in York County in the state of Pennsylvania in September of 2007 declared a marriage invalid because the officiant was ordained on the Internet by the Universal Life Church. Since then, three separate cases in separate Pennsylvanian counties have since upheld the validity of marriages performed by ministers ordained online. Since marriage licenses are issued by the state the participants marry in, it is especially important to confirm your state's statutes and requirements.

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About the Author

Based in Southern California, Daniel Holzer has been a freelance writer specializing in labor issues, personal finance and green living since 2004. His recent work has appeared online at Green Your Apartment and other websites. Holzer studied English literature at California State University, Fullerton.

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