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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a rite of passage?

According to author Michael Fishbane, “These moments celebrate or mark times of new beginning and transition from one life stage to another. They dramatize the transience of individual existence, while highlighting those social symbols that give the community its identity and integrate the person into a larger sphere of meaning. Moments of passage are thus crucial in a double sense. First, while stressing the transience of life, they also provide the means of transcending this terror through the enduring symbols of religious meaning. Second, while stressing the transience of life, rites of passage also provide the means of transition from one life stage and one sphere of responsibility to another.”

Examples of rites of passages: Bar Mitzvah, welcoming a new member of the family, a new parent or grandparent, graduation, marriage, surviving an illness or death, silver and gold anniversaries, moving to a new home, starting a new job, opening a new business, coming of age, baptisms, etc.

What is Clergy 211's organizational philosophy?

We are a no-judgment organization. Our philosophy is built around the idea of modeling our organization to be like what we hope the world will someday become. In essence, we strive to be the change we want to see happen in the world. We hope to accomplish this by making all of our acts of service, respect, and care a concerted effort to touch, move, and inspire others, thereby creating a truly beloved and diverse community of loving and caring people. Thus, we are eager to serve people from all walks of life, regardless of race, creed, belief or non belief, color, ethnicity, sexuality, sexual identity, sexual orientation, belief or non-belief, religious and political affiliation or non-affiliation, or worldview.

What is your service guarantee?

We dedicate ourselves to your complete satisfaction with our service. Our goal is to provide our clients with a consistently superior experience.

Our Service Guarantee: If you are not completely satisfied with the service received from our organization, your transaction will be fully refunded, less any outsourcing fees and/or expenses. All comments, joys, and concerns are welcomed and important to us. Your feedback will help us to serve you and others better. Please contact us to leave feedback. Learn more about our Quality Service Guarantee.

Who are the Clergy 211 ministers?

Some have been former ministers in a mainline denomination, but who may have retired, shifted in their beliefs, or moved away from the tenets of a particular denomination or group. Some are Atheist, Agnostic, or Humanist; some are Pagan, earth focused, some Native American Spiritualists, devout Christians, Buddhists, Hindu, or from one or several of the many other faith traditions.

What do Clergy 211 ministers believe and will they project their beliefs into my special ceremony?

Our clergy are there to offer support and guidance for your special event. Although each Clergy 211 minister has his or her own ideas and beliefs, they all agree that all people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and It is of less importance what the ministers believe as it is how they show up in the world. our mission is to create a positive and lasting memory in the minds and hearts of those we serve.

We accomplish this by being non-sectarian, non-judgmental, and a caring and ready presence, providing service to all, regardless of who a person is or the nature of their life choices. We serve ALL!

What if I am spiritual but not religious (SBNR)?

We serve all SBNR individuals, couples, and families. While most SBNRs do not embrace organized religion, many feel a deep connection to the significance of rites of passage and readily seek out a minister with an open mind who would help them to create new family or group customs, often outside of traditional religious liturgy and ideology.

What if I am an Atheist?

The ministers of clergy211 do not discriminate against any member of society. We take pride in our service to atheists, humanists, agnostics, as well as other non-religious individuals, couples, and families. We believe that rites and ceremony belong to all people; and that all people have the right to have their special or solemn occasion observed, publicly or privately. If you want a customized, meaningful ceremony without the theistic and religious language and worldview, we are prepared to meet you needs. If you prefer an earth or life centered ceremony that celebrates a person’s full humanity and honors all of nature, we are here to help!

Do I need a minister to get married?

It depends on your state's marriage statutes and requirements. Most states have civil Justices of the Peace who can officiate the ceremony. Those, who choose to involve clergy, will often do so to add a more formal and legitimizing aspect to the ceremony that only a qualified clergyperson can provide.

Are we required to get premarital counseling before we marry?

The Clergy211 wedding ministers do not require pre-marital counseling, but strongly encourage each couple to consider this invaluable resource. Our clergy are trained and certified by Prepare and Enrich, which specializes in strong marriages and healthy relationships. Often couples will spend a great amount of time in the planning stage of their wedding. However, seldom do these couples develop a strategic and long-term plan for their life together and for the many challenges and opportunities that marriage presents. Premarital counseling can provide a couple with insights into many relationship dynamics, by either highlighting behaviors that support a healthy relationship, or bringing awareness to behaviors that may be damaging to the relationship. Couples are encouraged to explore their dreams, goals, differences, fears, and expectations so that a clear path is made toward a successful marriage. A standard counseling program consists of 3 (three) one-hour-long sessions of an in-person, phone, or Skype consultation.

Please Note: Some States offer reduced marriage-license fees for premarital counseling. Check with your state's marriage registrar office to see if this benefit is provided.

Do we need a wedding planner?

The services provided by wedding planners can be truly invaluable. Wedding planners help the couple to stay organized, at ease, and confident, assuring that their very important milestone goes without a hitch. However, in most cases, with our highly experienced clergy, support staff, and pre-planning materials that we provide for our clients, we have discovered that the job of a wedding planner is not needed to the same extent or equal capacity, especially in small to mid-sized weddings.

In essence, our clergy will often assume the role of the wedding planner. But should you decide to utilize the talents of a wedding planner, our ministers and support staff will work  together with your wedding planner to ensure that the most beautiful, memorable, and wonderful ceremony takes place.

Is marriage only between a man and a woman?

The ministers of Clergy 211 believe that marriage is a sacred union and a right for all people. We believe that any consenting adults can make a public declaration of their love and commitment to one another before their community and/or their God. We will gladly celebrate with them and solemnize their marriage, commitment, civil union, or vow renewal ceremony.

Do you officiate same-sex marriages?

As a policy statement, Clergy 211 recognizes the sanctity of committed relationships and celebrates the public proclamation and solemnization of unions between persons whom the states historically have not permitted to be legally married; this includes same-sex couples.

Do I have to get married in a church?

You do not have to marry in a church. Frequently, ministers of local churches would perform rites of passages only for their church members. There are   times when they will rent out the facility to non-members and with non-affiliated clergypersons.

Can I blend various religious traditions into my wedding ceremony? Can I do it my way?

You can do whatever you desire, within reason: our clergy are not expected to participate in anything illegal, unethical, or overtly immoral, but we do specialize in helping you to create a memorable ceremony that best reflects your love and commitment to each other.

Are funeral homes good places to have a memorial or funeral service?

Funeral homes offer inclusive and unbiased services. Families often elect to conduct the funeral at funeral homes for their religious neutrality.

Are the Clergy 211 ministers the same as celebrants?

Celebrants officiate at all types of ceremonies and rituals. However, celebrants usually do not have the years of pastoral training that is often needed during unique family situations and dynamics, such as conflict resolutions, counseling, and dealing with multicultural and multi-religious sensibilities.

What are the duties of a chaplain?

Chaplains differ in many ways because they mostly serve the larger community, often ministering in jails, prisons, juvenile facilities, nursing homes, hospitals, hospice centers, truck stops, rodeos, race tracks, rescue missions, airports, law enforcement agencies, fire departments, emergency medical services, industries, businesses, schools, sports arenas, motorcycle rallies, and mental health facilities.

How are the Clergy 211 ministers and chaplains qualified?

Our ministers  and chaplain clergy are qualified based on the following criteria:

  • Minimum of 2 (two) years of pastoral or community ministry experience
  • M.Div (or its equivalent) with an institution, accredited with Association of Theological Schools (ATS), or a Bachelors degree from an accredited institution with a minimum of 10 (ten) years of pastoral or community ministry experience
  • Minimum of 2 (two) units of Certified Pastoral Education (CPE)
  • Eligible for certification with professional organization
  • Professional references, including one from their denomination, local church, professional affiliation, or group
  • Background check
  • Possess a non-exclusive approach to serving others, particularly of another faith or non-faith

Are Clergy 211 ministers anti-God or anti-religious establishment?

The Clergy 211 ministers are not anti-God or anti-religion. Many of our ministers do have associations with mainline denominations; however, we differ from mainstream clergy in that we are non-sectarian and non-dogmatic in our practice and service to others. Because the definition of the divine (God, G-D, gods, etc.) and the scope of religious beliefs do vary among people, our clergy come from diverse religious backgrounds and have developed a deep respect for the philosophical beliefs and religious expressions of others. We do serve all people, regardless of their religious affiliations or non-affiliation, in ways that our meaningful to them. We speak various religious languages.

How do I honor my atheist friend or relative with a memorial or funeral service?

Honoring a non-religious person with a ceremony after their death is of less importance to the deceased as it is for the family and friends who will come to pay their final tributes. The eulogy is the final tribute to a person's life, and the ceremony is to provide a place for the people affected by the person's life to come together in reflection, memory, and respect.

Clergy 211 ministers are highly educated and experienced professionals who provide spiritual support and guidance to family and friends during very difficult times. Our minsters help our clients to select the most meaningful and appropriate readings, music, poems, and symbols that reflect personal significance. Our clergy will honor the life and the special relationships that friends and family shared with the deceased. We take pride in our desire to provide the most beautiful and memorable farewell.

What is the difference between a memorial and a funeral service?

In most cases, the difference between a memorial and a funeral service is the presence of remains. A funeral will often have a body and casket, while a memorial service rarely has remains present, with the exception of an urn and cremains. A memorial service may take place weeks or even months after an individual has passed away. Both are excellent ways to pay tribute to a loved one.

When should I contact a minister for a memorial or funeral service?

Once a funeral service is decided upon, the clergy is usually contacted either during or shortly after the family of the deceased have communicated with the funeral home or crematory. A date and time for the family meeting with the clergyperson would then be determined to discuss the details of the service and to gather information for constructing the eulogy.

Can I request a different minister?

If you have had an initial contact with a minister and you are not, for whatever reason and without explanation, completely satisfied, you can, depending on availability, request that you be assigned to another minister. The initial minister will be notified of the change and will be required to end all contact with you at that point.

Do you have ministers who can oversee worship at my church (pulpit supply)?

Contact us with the details, and we will work to reserve a qualified minister. Our ministers usually receive a $255 honorarium for a standard worship service, plus $25 for each additional service. Additional travel and lodging fees may be assessed when applicable.

Reimbursement for travel is recommended at 55.5 cents per mile, or the full cost of round-trip airfare, plus meals and lodging, where applicable.

What are the costs?

Clergy 211 has centralized many administrative and financial operations to allow our ministers to focus on what they are best at — ministry, and to offer a superior experience to our clients. It is our purpose to ensure that our clergy are paid according to their education, professionalism, service, and commitment to excellence. We know, because our clients have told us this on many occasions, that the reasonable costs associated with our level of quality services are well worth the lasting memories that those we serve have after the observance of a cherished event.

Costs may vary with venue, travel expense, and additional service items. The final quote for the services will be provided upon the initial consultation and the confirmation of ministerial availability.

Do ministers accept gratuities? What if I want to pay more than what the invoice states?

Clergy 211 can only accept payment for said invoice. Gratuity is neither required nor expected, but if you want to give a minister a gratuity, you can do so directly with the minister. If the gratuity is offered in the form of a check, please ensure it is payable to the minister directly, as Clergy 211 is not authorized to process gratuities.

Can I donate?

Clergy 211 is a for-profit organization. However, you can donate money for services for the individuals who may need it. We have a generosity account reserved for people who cannot, for whatever reason at the time, afford our services but would still like to have a meaningful ceremony. Contact our Client Services or call 1-888-526-1199 for details.

I cannot afford to pay a minister at this time. Are there other options?

Occasionally, we do have clergy who donate their services to help those who cannot afford them. Contact a Clergy 211 representative to see what pro bono services may be available.

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