Posts Tagged ‘Universal Life Church’

…Jesus son of Mary, honoured in this world and in the next, and of those granted nearness to God.

-Sura 3:46

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† The Crusades were a horrific time within the Empire phase of Christianity. It was about anti-Semitism (travelling to and from the Holy Land was a great excuse for the warriors to cull the Jewish in the lands) and to let blood run high in the Holy Land battling the ‚Äúinfidel‚ÄĚ.

During one such crusade time a disgraced Crusader received a call to something different. Francis was a party animal, one of those wealthy ne’er do wells many towns and communities know of. He thought to increase his lot by bravery in the Crusades…suffice to say he was not a good Knight, and wound up injured in a burnt out church where Jesus spoke to him through the San Damiano cross calling him to rebuild his church. After stealing supplies from his father, and rebuilding 3 fine parishes he was once again revisited and redirected to actual community based around hope and loved. Even beaten and imprisoned by his own parents, just emboldened this man to cast of (literally) the clothes of wealth and walk naked into the world.

The Franciscan movement is what began. Part of the life lived that receives little mention outside of the international circles (as most just know Francis for his love of animals, not activism) so he has been reduced to the garden statue or fountain. Yet it was in the midst of crusade times this rabble rouser and friends upset the apple cart, and not just in the challenge for equity and justice for the poor. Nope, he also crossed treasonous lines by going back onto the Crusader path to meet with Sultan.


To pray together.

To talk.

To share bread.

To be community.

Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was ever inclined to God and obedient to Him, and he was not of those who associate gods with God.

-Sura 3:68

Francis and his community understood an eternal truth. God is the source of all that is, all that exists within and through and lived out of the Holy Mystery. The source-Love- was not to be confused with the manifestations. That is…the wells are not the river.

We want the labels to divide. Those in power hope that we allow the labels to divide. Yet, there is another way. A way where we acknowledge the One River, and sample one another’s well water in a safe place of community, sharing prayers, sharing discourse, sharing bread. Being like Francis and the Sultan. That piece of light in the darkness.

And he will teach them the Book, and The Wisdom, and The Torah and the Gospel.

-Sura 3: 49

This is why my family hosts an inter-faith Questing through the Qur’an; and a Brunch & Bible (where we travel the roads of the Gospel of Luke & Acts of the Apostles) on alternating weeks. To share the foundation stories. To see where we connect. To hear where we differ.

To know  we are still united in our diversity.

                Much like Francis’ call to bring the gifts of peace, hope, faith, joy and love to Sultan. But also to receive these same gifts from Sultan.

For, what are we in humanity,

if not neighbours….


The Gospel story, the faith story has not ended. It is not sealed. Each of us in our journeys, our lives continue to write in the book of life about how we live within, through and out of the love that is the Holy Mystery. So what is the new chapter you are starting in this moment?

In my wanderings there has been many that have said they see a call to “the ministry”.¬† What does this mean?¬† For some it means the title “Rev” before one’s name, for others it is the understanding that any of us that worship and try to live out of the heart of the Sacred Mystery, we are all apart of the ministry.

This inner struggle led me to a group called the Universal Life Church Monastery and the Universal Life Church, where I was ordained.  It is a universalist organization that ordains anyone who feels the call.  Essentially it is codifying the call, which each of us has, and then it is up to the individual to take the ordination seriously or not.

Unfortunately within this universalist group, is schism. There is factions that plague the internet airwaves with negativity and attacks in the name of the Holy, sigh, and there has been instances of stalking…essentially regardless of the label placed on the organization the same cancers boil and prosper.

But back to my journey through this, it was the time of questioning for myself and my family about where we belonged, we had found a spiritual home, but were wondering about other arenas.  At this time, a month after my ordination, several individuals had approached me about an alternative to the traditional church structure.

Out of this came the Rainbow Chapel ULC Calgary.  It was a house church designed for Christian Universalists, we wrote our own creed, worshipped with a mix of music, and followed a ELCIC Liturgy.  Unfortunately inspite of the desire, the willingness to commit never fully materialized, but during this experiment something else awakened within us.

The call of the Holy Spirit, to be fully present at our home church, Prince of Faith ELCIC here in Calgary, so as Rainbow Chapel ceased services (yet continues to exist as an online resource at, we realized the community that existed around us.

This was the step of faith, as I have always been leary of the institutional church, I had given up my discernment within the UCC due to negative reactions to my differently abled son, yet here at P of F, we were all accepted, fed, and allowed to explore our spirituality and journey to God individually and communally.¬† The next step was the offer, the offer to aid the church in ministry as an “associate pastor” which led to my commissioning as a Commissioned/Lay/Pastor/Pastoral assistant/Professional Leader depending on the resource the title changes, and the different style of service we tried to plant in our house, became a contemplative service during the week.

As well as almost two years with an in house bible study, with a potluck brunch, Brunch & Bible, that in two weeks comes to a close.  I am proud of this community group, it served well for a time to explore faith and understanding of where and how scripture works within our faith journeys.

So my journey has been varied, currently I am content, but constantly yearning for a new way to experience the Holy Mystery.