Aviva Directory » Faith & Spirituality » Ordination & Ordainment » Online Ordinations

The focus of this category is on private or church-sponsored websites that offer ordinations online, either free or for a fee.

These may include those that are often considered to be ordination mills, requiring nothing but the payment of a fee, to legitimate churches which don't believe in the necessity of a seminary degree, or which hold to the concept of the universal priesthood of believers.

An ordination mill is a religious organization that offers ordinations as a minister or religion, bishop, priest, deacon, or another office without requiring any appreciable training, work experience, or other qualifications. In many cases, ordinations may be obtained online or through the mail for nothing other than an application and the payment of a fee.

In many cases, ordination is sought by people who are seeking such in order to officiate at a wedding for a friend or family member or to perform weddings as a side business. Others may seek ordination in the hopes of founding an independent church.

Ordination mills are not new. In 1927, an ordination mill in New Jersey was offering ordinations for $2.00. One of the best-known ordination mills, the Universal Life Church, began in 1959.

Ordination papers received through an ordination mill does not guarantee all the privileges that are afforded to those who are ordained through more traditional methods, and their legitimacy will vary from state to state, and from country to country.

Most US states and Canadian provinces allow any ordained minister to officiate weddings, but there is often a requirement that the ordination be affiliated with a denomination that is a legally incorporated entity with tax-exempt status, that it be in operation for a set amount of time, and have a brick-and-mortar house of worship. New denominations may have to wait as long as two years for Ontario accreditation even if all of the requirements are met.

In many cases, weddings that were officiated on the basis of a diploma mill ordination have been found to be invalid, and this is sometimes not discovered until a subsequent divorce or on the death of one of the spouses.

On the other hand, some churches or religious organizations will ordain those who have need of ordination papers due to a strongly held belief in the priesthood of all believers.

Once a common tenet of Protestant Christianity, some denominations do not have educational requirements for ordination, but will ordain known members by a laying on of hands. These, however, would not be subject to this category because they are not ordaining people who are unknown to them.

Whereas the Universal Life Church will ordain anyone, Christians, Buddhists, Satanists, atheists, and anything in between, other online ordination ministries have a focus on a particular religion or denomination. Celtic Anabaptist Ministries, for example, offers ordination for Anabaptists who affirm the Apostles' Creed and its own statement of principles, and there is a provision for ordination by a laying on of hands, if desired, with a claim to apostolic succession. No program of study is required, however.

The First International Church of the Web represents itself as an independent online Christian web-based church organization, with the right to ordain ministers, issue church charters, and perform other recognized church activities.

The Christian Leaders Alliance offers online minister ordination, but only after the successful completion of two online programs of study through the Christian Leaders Institute.

Then there are many others that advertise their ordination program for those who are interested in earning an income by officiating weddings and performing other ceremonies, most of which identify themselves as Christian.

There are online Bible colleges and seminaries that offer various divinity or ministerial degrees or certifications that could lead to ordination, but unless they also offer ordination, they would be listed in an appropriate category representing a school, college, or seminary, rather than in this category.

By virtue of being listed in this category, we make no claims as to the validity of the ordination documents being offered, nor should a listing in this category be considered as a discredit or as an invalidation of their claims. Before deciding to respond to offers made on any of the sites listed in this category, check with the appropriate governmental regulatory agency for the state, province, or country that you live in. Sites listed here may, or may not, meet your needs or be valid in your area.

This category is for sites offering ordinations online. Sites that discuss ordination requirements, rituals, or other topics related to ordination, without actually offering online ordinations, should be submitted to the parent Ordinations category.



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