First Nation Church

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Tag: renewal

Why Do Wedding Minister Ordination Terms Expire?

Wedding Minister Ordination (Photo)

We recently received an inquiry asking why ordination terms expire:

My understanding is that Ordination does not expire. Can you explain about the 2 year, 5 year and 10 year materials? What happens at the end of the time period?

We think this question has widespread implications for wedding ministers, so we’re also posting our reply here:

To be fully compliant with general legal standards, ordination cannot be granted “for life.” Most ordaining bodies —  churches and religious organizations — conform with a standard that limits the ordination term to a specific period.

wedding minister license

This gives both parties the option to continue the relationship, or to terminate it. In essence, what happens if ten, or twenty or even thirty years from now, you decide that you don’t want to be ordained by the church any longer, but the church still has you on record as being ordained?

The truth of the matter is that ordination is one of the most misunderstood subjects for both pastors and churches. And unfortunately, ministers have bought into some “myths” concerning ordination.

— Raul Rivera*

At the end of your ordination term, it is your option to either renew extend your ordination, or allow it to lapse. If you have remained in good standing, it is usually a quick and simple process. And if your ordination term has recently lapsed, we generally grant you an extended grace period so that you can renew without losing your standing as a ceremonial minister.

Is it time to renew your ordination term? Please click here to begin the renewal process now.

Ready to be ordained? We’re ready to help! Click here to request ordination now.

* — Looking for more information about the legal implications of ordination and license renewal? Read Raul Rivera’s article at

Renewing Your Ordination Term: The Why and The How

Another question that we on the WedMinTeam at FNC are often asked is (1) why do I have to renew my ordination term as a wedding officiant, and (2) how do I renew my ordination term?

The simple answer to 1 (the “why”) is that ordination isn’t for life. While some churches (and we all know who we’re talking about here) offer “lifetime ordination,” no real church or religious order grants unconditional ordination as a ceremonial minister for eternity.

What happens if you change your mind about your beliefs or your calling twelve years from now? Should we still consider you ordained? What about your personal information in our incredibly secure and private database? Should we continue maintaining it twenty years from now?

(The answer to these questions: no.)

According to our legal team, it makes sense from a legal standpoint to put a term limit on ordination. It precludes a bevy of potential problems from happening in the future.

The even simpler answer to 2 (the “how”) is for you to click here to go directly to our ordination renewal information page.

Once there, you’ll be asked to enter your name, your license number (if you have it; if you don’t, no problem) and the preferred length of your extended ordination term. Yes, it’s that simple.

Our ministers occasionally ask about how long their terms are, because it’s not on their documents. Actually, it is: look on the bottom-left corner of your ordination certificate, or in the body of your letter of good standing.

And if that doesn’t work, contact us and we’ll let you know! (You can email us directly using the handy form at the bottom of this article.)

Oh, and if your ordination expired a while back and you were busy doing other things and forgot to renew, you do not have to start over from scratch. Drop us a line and we’ll walk you through the simple reactivation process.

Want to to send us a message? Here you go…


The wonderful image accompanying this post was taken by Chris Moncus. To view Chris’ work and to book him for your ceremony, please visit

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