Clergy/Curate Training Information

In an effort to create a higher standard of Clergy training for those who follow an Earth Based/Interfaith belief system, the American Spiritual Alliance has researched the educational standards and criteria of many Religious organizations offering Clergy status. To date, these standards have been adopted and are in use by Northern Lakes Temple, Valkyrie Robes Temple and Flowing Waters Shrine.
What we found ran from what we consider “selling” the title to very strict and rigorous training practices. Our goal when compiling our internal criteria was to change what has become a mainstream view of our belief system, that being granting ordination to anyone willing to pay for the title.
We feel that we have accomplished this with a somewhat intensive four-year program. This program encompasses a three degree system which is commonly found within many Earth Based beliefs, however the resemblance ends there. Training to obtain Clergy credentials begins with an application process which includes a basic background check. This is done in an effort to eliminate the potential of someone with a criminal history that includes violent or sexually related convictions. The A.S.A. at no time allow anyone not of legal age to enroll into the Clergy training program. All applicants must be a member in good standing with the A.S.A. Once the application has been accepted, the applicant must be interviewed by our standards council, during this process, the applicant must successfully demonstrate that this path is one being undertaken seriously. If the applicant successfully passes the standards, they are assigned a Mentor. This Mentor will be a fully Ordained Minister with an in-depth background on the educational material provided.
The student will be required to pass a written (closed book) final exam at the end of each phase of training as well as an oral interview which will be conducted after receiving a passing grade of at least seventy percent on the final exam.
If at any time the student fails to receive a passing grade on a final exam, they will be given one opportunity to retake the test, but only after refresher training from their assigned Mentor.
The following is a list of A.S.A. standards of training for each of the three degrees used in Wicca:

Clergy Training Standards

Definition of Clergy and Curate levels

1.      Curate 1; A male or female non-Clergy member who has completed First Degree Certification but not necessarily attending Clergy Training. These individuals would be somewhat like a Lay Minister, a person having the knowledge and training but without Clerical title. They would be allowed to assist in most areas as needed. Training received to hold this title may, upon completion of all prerequisites for Clergy training be applied to the individuals actual Clergy training. An application and interview to be administered by the proper Regional Director and the Executive Director would be required prior to assignment of title

2.   Curate 2; A male or female non-Clergy member who has completed Second Degree Certification but not necessarily attending Clergy Training. These individuals would be somewhat similar to an Elder, a person having the knowledge and training but without Clerical title. They would be allowed to assist in most areas as needed. Training received to hold this title may, upon completion of all prerequisites for Clergy training be applied to the individuals actual Clergy training. An interview with the appropriate Regional Director and Executive Director would be required prior to assignment of title.

3.   Curate 3; A male or female non-Clergy member who has completed Third Degree Certification but not necessarily attending Clergy Training. These individuals would be somewhat similar to a Senior Elder, a person having the knowledge and training but without Clerical title. They would be allowed to assist in most areas as needed. Training received to hold this title may, upon completion of all prerequisites for Clergy training be applied to the individuals actual Clergy training. An interview with the appropriate Regional Director and Executive Director would be required prior to assignment of title.

4.   Initiate; One who has successfully completed all prerequisites for beginning Clergy Training. This title is used until the initiate has successfully completed First Degree Training. It also carries no Clergy status. An initiate may also carry the title Curate during their training.

5.   First Degree; This is the first level of Clergy status, granting the student greater responsibility within the Church and their individual Temple, Shrine, Grove or Coven. While the responsibilities are minimal, this position does reflect the individual as a member of the Clergy (see document regarding levels of Clergy currently in place). Limitations include; First Degree Clergy may not perform Handfastings/Weddings, Life Passages/Funerals, Wiccanings. They may assist a Third Degree in any other facet.

6.   Second Degree; As the second level of Clergy, a Second Degree would be allowed greater participation as a member of the Clergy. Limitations; Second Degree Clergy may not perform Handfastings/Weddings or Life Passages except under the guidance of a Third Degree, they may participate in most aspects of Ritual with the exception of Leading Ritual.

7.   Third Degree; A fully ordained position within the Church as a whole and capable of standing full Ritual or any other duty that would be handled by an Ordained Minister. Third Degree Clergy may perform all duties of leadership except becoming a Temple Head.

8.   Senior Minister; This position would be held by any Third Degree who has successfully completed the fourth year independent study session. This individual is fully trained and capable of bearing the title and responsibilities of a Temple head.

Oath of Affirmation
As a member of the Clergy of the Gaianist Free Church
I _____________________________________________________ hereby do affirm, my Love and dedication to the Goddess and God. I vow to show them honor in thought and deed, through my daily life. I dedicate my life to their service.
I will hold the Rede highly in my mind and heart and strive to keep the tenants contained therein.
I will be both teacher and student, continuing to learn and grow, ever mindful that there is always something that will make me more effective in my vocation.
I vow to keep the tenants, doctrine and philosophies of my Tradition and its Temples and Shrines, for I am a public representation of them in all that I do.
If I knowingly do harm, I will abide by any decision or action taken by a consensus of the Church High Council as well as that of the Alliance Educational Council.
These things I vow with full understanding, an open mind and an open heart.