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Law Educator, Esq.
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Category: Family Law
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I have been ordained as a minister from Divine Light Ministies

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I have been ordained as a minister from Divine Light Ministies based in Downingtown PA. The ministry's name at the time I was ordained was Inner Light Ministries. As a part of this mystery school a weekend workshop on world religions and performing ceremonies was given. I was given a certificate and card issued by the International Assembly of Spritual Healers and earth Stewards Congregations based in Seattle, WA. Can I perform a leagal marriage in the states of PA & NJ?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 years ago.
Most of these services that you are referring to can lawfully perform marriages in most states, such as PA and NJ. The state of Indiana and Illinois have prohibititions on ministers from other states who were not ordained in person (internet ministers) but as long as the church you represent is lawfully recognized by a state, then PA and NJ are supposed to recognize it.

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Customer: replied 6 years ago.



Does the state of Pa and NJ specifically recognize that Divine Light Ministries of Downingtown the affliate of International Assembly of Spiritual Healers and Earth Stewards Congregations is a lawful church?


I am concerned because Divine Light ministries is a mystery school and the head of the school has stopped offering to ordain ministers as of last year. There are no regular meetings of worship at Divine Light, only classes in metaphysics which are billed. Occasionally the group gets together for healing shares. I don't think any of these meetings are documented so there may be no record of regular meetings.

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 years ago.

In New Jersey, "[various government officials] and every minister of every religion, are hereby authorized to solemnize marriage between such persons as may lawfully enter into the matrimonial relation; and every religious society, institution or organization in this State may join together in marriage such persons according to the rules and customs of the society, institution or organization." Title 37:1-13,15

In PA, ministers of any regularly established church or congregation may perform marriages. Also, persons may marry themselves if they obtain a certificate from the clerk of the orphans' court. --- Ministers must provide a certificate of marriage to the bride and groom. Also, they must send a marriage certificate to the clerk of the orphans' court who issued the marriage license within 10 days after the marriage.

Thus, before you perform a marriage in either state you must present your credentials to the clerk issuing marriage licenses to obtain approval under the laws and no state has a specific list of churches that are authorized, you must prove your credentials to the clerk in that location where marriage licenses are obtained.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
What does the wording regularly established refer to?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 years ago.
It means a church that is formed as a business entity and has credentials to operate as a religious organization.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

In regard to credentials, is there a requirement in the state of PA in particular that the church or congregation be in the state of PA and hold worship services? I know that Divine Light is an LLC and not for profit organization.


Would I be considered a minister under their organization or under the International Assembly of Spiritual Healers and Earth Stewards Congregation?


I am no longer attending classes or meeting with Divine Light Ministries so I am concerned that I am not affiliated with an established organization as defined by the PA state law. If that is the case, would I need to be affliated with a local congregation/ ministry?

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 years ago.
No, as long as you are ordained from a recognized chruch someplace the State of PA generally recognizes such ordination as valid. It does not require affiliation with a local ministry, just that you are properly ordained by a recognized religious organization. AS far as which one you would be considered a minister under, this depends on which organization ordained you, if you were ordained by both you could be considered under both.
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