I am a minister in the Universal Church of the Master (UCM), a Christian church whose members believe that the spirituality and mastery of Jesus, through training, meditation, discipline can be to some degree expressed by ordinary human beings. Each of us is capable of great service to others – of great love. It is therefore no surprise that UCM ministers embrace the concept of marriage by two people regardless of their sex.
Specifically, “UCM was founded in 1908 as a church in which members are encouraged to develop and exercise their spiritual powers. We discourage adherence to rigid dogmas and tenets, believing that each person must find and travel his/her own path in the Light, and that no single set of fixed rules is applicable to everyone in their spiritual quest.” http://www.u-c-m.org/new/about.php
I have been willing to join in marriage any two people who love one another. Last fall two fantastic women came to me to be joined in marriage the next year, October, 2008. Each of these women in their professions served others in their work: they were loving, exceptional people. For whatever reason, we lost contact with them. Then the California Supreme Court decided that same sex marriages were essentially “constitutional” and shortly thereafter two women, a physician and a systems engineer called from Pennsylvania to ask that I preside over their elopement. On the second day following the “legalization” of same sex marriages, I officiated their marriage with one of our staff photographing the event and serving as the witness.
The ceremony was in Mancha’s Garden under the wedding pergola. There were just the four of us, Amelia and Livia from Pennsylvania, Jill who coordinates weddings for the Inn, and me. Amelia and Livia were very much moved by the ceremony. They cried in celebration of their relationship. The energy from their official marriage was palpable, joyful and overwhelming sweeping Jill and me into its joyfulness.
I had never experienced any two people embrace their marriage with such joy. I have married many couples, more than a few who just had chosen to “make it official,” or “decided to have children,’ or “wanted to celebrate their living together with a wedding.” These weddings have been joyful, tearful and moving. But the heterosexual couples could choose whether or not to marry. Two women or two men prior to the California Supreme Court’s decision could not choose marriage except in Massachusetts – and that is a huge difference. Livia and Amelia’s joy is that of an explosive release, of the achievement and a recognition not possible before.
I am using this blog to thank Amelia and Livia – two beautiful people now joined in marriage who taught me so much. I wish you a wonderful, happy and very long life together. Thank you, Reverend Jeff Stanford
This article was written by stanford