Individuals who formally take vows and pledge to a life of sacred service as set forth by the Order of Universal Interfaith’s Declaration of Faith are ordained as “pledgers.” Candidates to become a pledger may apply for one of four canonical clergy or lay statures based upon their discerned calling to ministry and their level of education and training towards capable religious service in a professional or public setting.
In order to be considered for clergy or lay ordination, candidates must be over the age of 18 and have fulfilled all academic and practical training requirements. In addition, the candidate must not have engaged in conduct within the past five years that would reflect negatively upon the Order and its Declaration of Faith. Those ordained as clergy must remain in good standing for continued endorsement.
All pledgers are granted their authority by OUnI’s Officers and Board of Directors without regard to personal religious or spiritual beliefs as long as they are not in conflict with our Declaration of Faith. Canonical stature is never denied based on race, age, physical limitation, gender, sexual orientation or religious preference.
Those who have previously been ordained as a member of the clergy through a particular faith tradition or through an Interfaith seminary may apply for “co-ordination.” OUnI respectfully acknowledges the ordinations given by “single-path” religious traditions and Interfaith seminaries to serve the Divine but believes that there must be a public declaration that expands the scope of ministry to include the whole “Interfaith-Interspiritual-Integral” movement. OUnI’s co-ordination ceremony is an acknowledgment to the world and to the pledger that canonical stature as a member of the clergy is universally recognized beyond a single denomination or school.
Ordinations and co-ordinations for both clergy and lay statures must take place in open, public, community ceremonies that are held at different times of the year at locations around the world.
If you are interested in pledging with OUnI, please complete our Pledging Interest Form and someone will get in touch with you to answer your questions and further explain the process and requirements.
Interfaith-Interspiritual Minister and Cleric
Those who have discerned a call to ministry as a member of the clergy may apply for the stature of Interfaith-Interspiritual Minister and Cleric. Pledgers to this stature must have earned a bachelor’s degree from an undergraduate program approved by the US Department of Education as well as a master’s level degree from an Interfaith seminary or other school as approved by the Board of Directors of the Order. Although we recognize that many Interfaith seminaries do not require a bachelor’s degree for entry and graduation, we believe that the absence of a college degree will be professionally limiting.
It is critical that every person who undertakes seminary studies understands that there is no recognizable accrediting body that exists for Interfaith training. It is OUnI’s goal that all who are ordained to the stature of Interfaith-Interspiritual Minister and Cleric have the equivalency of an Interfaith Master of Divinity degree as determined on a case by case basis. For those who have obtained a master’s degree from a single-faith seminary, the Board of Directors will generally request evidence of life experiences that demonstrate the equivalent of Interfaith education and training (e.g. sustained leadership of an Interfaith congregation or organization).
Ordination as an Interfaith-Interspiritual Minister and Cleric is required before an individual may be considered for a governing position in the Order (e.g. Officer, Board of Directors).
Interfaith-Interspiritual Aspirant and Celebrant
This stature is given to pledgers who do not yet have all the credentials for clergy status as an Interfaith-Interspiritual Minister and Cleric but who are in an approved course of training towards that class of service. After taking their vows, these pledgers may lead multi-faith worship services and perform weddings under the guidance and supervision of the OUnI Officers and Board of Directors.
Pledgers with the stature of Interspiritual Wayfarer have chosen to remain members of the laity but have taken the same vows of service to further OUnI’s work in the world.
Like the Interspiritual Wayfarer, brothers and sisters have chosen to remain members of the laity but have taken the same vows of service to further OUnI’s work in the world. However, unlike the Interspiritual Wayfarer, these pledgers personally eschew official titles and choose to be known simply as brother or sister.