I am an Interfaith Minister! Bet you didn’t know that about me, did you. How could you when I have no shingle hanging in front of my home. Yet I do have a special parking place card that I am supposed to be able to set on the dashboard of my vehicle, thus allowing me special parking privileges if I am on “official business” and they do not already have a slot allocated for the clergy. As luck would have it, most everything I have done in an “official capacity” has been where I did not have need of such a placard, life is good. It has been my honor over the past 13 years, since I received my ordination, to officiate at weddings and funerals for many families. Because my only affiliation is with God, or Spirit (as some would rather say) I have been able to custom create the ceremony in accordance with the needs of my families. We have always had a beautiful experience as a result.
Now I have to say that originally I did not seek to be ordained so I would have the right to perform ceremonies. No, that is not how it came about. I am also a certified hypnotherapist and because one of the things that happens in nearly every hypnotherapy session is that I will touch you, both you and I require legal protection. How do I touch you? I would lay my hand on your foot, that’s all and I do that at the end of the hypnotherapy session to get your attention in a way that requires you to acknowledge that you are aware that the session has been completed. By having the ordination as a member of the clergy, I am allowed to lay my hands upon you without it being suspect. Heavens, let us not bandy the thoughts to about those in my vocation who abuse that privilege, I am only stating why I chose to move forward with my ordination at that point in my life. But there is a back story…
See, I was actually trained to be a minister and was looking forward to one day presiding over services in not only the church I was attending at the time but perhaps a church I might one day start all on my own. Back in the early 90’s I was attending a wee Spiritualist church in Toledo, OH and soon after I stated going there , the ministerial caretakers (2 couples who were all ordained in that church) decided they would train 12 of us in the ways of being a Spiritual Minister and then decide which of us they would ordain. The remaining would be of service in ways that did not require ordination, so we could lead the services, have keys to the building allowing us to be the appointed representative for events not requiring the need for an ordained minister. It was fun and I learned quickly and looked forward to being the chosen but it wasn’t in the cards as they say.
A few years later I found myself studying in earnest with the Ishaya Monks to enter the monastery. In fact it’s funny because we actually had my teachers as guest speakers at the wee church I attended. For 2 years I embraced the teachings and participated in the puja (the ceremonies we had at the end of each lesson) all with tremendous joy! It was as though I had finally found my tribe and myself. Weeks before I was to literally sell all my worldly possessions and relocate to the monastery, of all people, my dad stepped in and everything came to a grinding halt. He was so concerned that I was part of a cult that he actually contacted the FBI. No, they were not a cult and it was I who chose not to proceed.
It was right after the monastery debacle, I became a certified hypnotherapist. Not because I wasn’t going to become a Monk but because the opportunity fell right in my lap. I was fascinated by how it all worked and I even took to writing my own scripts. Thank goodness I was good at what I did and soon began working at a wellness center helping people using transpersonal hypnotherapy. This brings us right back to the reason why I chose to pursue ordination.
What was really funny about the whole scenario was that I went through an on-line method which the owner of the wellness center had discovered. Of course this was a bit suspect to me as there was no professional training provided but considering that I had been through 3 + years of instruction and field work already I saw it as merely a formality. So I answered pages and pages of questions, then submitted the required essays and whatever the paltry sum of money was and within weeks I received a package filled with all the official documentation I would ever need to PROVE to the world that I was an Ordained Minister! Will wonders never cease?
People have asked me why I do not start a church of my own. They want me to create a place where people can come together and celebrate their faith under my guidance. I even had a friend of mine create a website for me (without me knowing it) and listed me as a Spiritual Counselor. She had a good heart and was telling the truth as I have counseled people for years (truth be told, I still do). But that whole advertise myself via the website never felt comfortable.
What I have been thinking about is opening a wedding chapel! Seriously, what fun would that be to have a place where small gatherings could be held for everything from weddings to baptisms to funeral services? I mean why not since the way I see it most wedding chapels don’t have enough business to keep them going, so let’s open up the space for a variety of different events, all with a Spiritual based theme and let’s have a go! I will be sure to let everyone know when that happens.
Guess by now you figured out that I am thrilled that I was not chosen to run that little church and that I am not wearing my white robes in that monastery because if all that had come about as planned, I would not have had the life I have today. It is an honor to be available for those who require my services, in fact I recently officiated at a ten-year vow renewal ceremony for one of my happy couples. I get that I wasn’t meant to follow a traditional path to becoming a minister. Perhaps my robes are just cut from a different cloth…