The Universal Gnostic Fellowship traces its apostolic lineage through the Apostles of the Master Jesus to Christ Melchizedek and, it is claimed, back to Enoch, and through Enoch to the first man and priest, Adam. Those consecrated in the Universal Gnostic Fellowship are consecrated under Gnostic and Apostolic Succession initiated by the Master Jesus and Mary Magdalene and the Apostles Peter, Andrew, James, Jude, Bartholomew, and Thomas. The Gnostic lines also include earlier lineages from the Masters Enoch and Melchizedek.
The Universal Gnostic Fellowship subscribes to one doctrine - the Doctrine of the One. According to this doctrine, everything we perceive or can possibly conceive is the Divine; there is nothing which is not the Divine; the Divine is everything there is, and everything which ever was or ever will be. This is the original doctrine taught by the early shamans, Enoch, Christ Melchizedek, the Prophets, the Master Jesus and many other saints, sages and teachers. It was the fundamental doctrine of the early Christians and Gnostics. There was no other doctrine then, and the Universal Church requires no other doctrine now.
According to the beliefs of the Universal Gnostic Fellowship, every person who is living now, has ever lived, or ever will live, is an expression of, and part of, the One Source. We all live and die in the Divine; none of us ever lives or dies in anything else but the Divine. We are never apart from the Divine, we are always a part of the Divine. Therefore, we can know the Divine.
To believe we can know the Divine defines the concept of gnosis. The person who believes he or she can know the Divine is a Gnostic. To be Gnostic is to believe we can know the Divine, we can learn the Divine's purpose for us, we can approach the Divine in consciousness, we can move closer to the Divine, we can know the Divine. The clergy in the Universal Gnostic Fellowship are Gnostic because we seek to know the Divine, whomever and whatever the Divine may be.
Some priests and bishops within the Universal Gnostic Fellowship recognize other doctrines from the New Testament and other associated writings which are considered directions given by the Master Jesus or any other Spiritual Master to his or her students. These Doctrines include the Doctrines of Grace, Forgiveness, Unction, Healing, Blessing, and many others. All of these doctrines are optional and each person has the right to accept or reject them of their own free will. Notice these doctrines do not include the contrived doctrines (those instituted by the priesthood) such as original sin, damnation, burning in Hell, virgin birth, tithing, and others whose purpose is to subjugate the masses for the benefit the priesthood.
The Universal Gnostic Fellowship is a church of members, initiates, priests and bishops. Each bishop is free to form his or her own church or unite with another bishop or bishops to do so. Each priest is free to associate with the bishop or bishops of his or her choice and become part of the clergy of the church of his or her choice.
The Universal Gnostic Fellowship has no dogma. Dogma is usually defined as the rules, laws and regulations written and enforced by a government (the priesthood) for the benefit of those in power (the priesthood or episcopate). Dogma restricts the activities of most by dictating the appropriate behavior of those being ruled, and gives benefits to a few (again, the priesthood and episcopate) at the expense of everybody else. Each bishop is free to adopt such dogma as he or she decides is suitable for his or her own church. Each priest is free to affiliate with the bishop or bishops of his or her own choice.
There are several Holy Sacraments which are available to any person: Child birthing, Naming, Baptism, Coming of Age, Initiation, Manhood, Womanhood, Handfasting, Marriage, Holy Matrimony, Blessing, Anointing, Sanctifying, Healing, Unction, Exorcism, House Blessing, Reconciliation, Confession, Holy Communion, Mass, Holy Eucharist, Elderhood, Burial of the Dead, and Last Rites. These sacraments, and others, are available to all people regardless of age, class, race, color, religious preference, creed, gender or sexual orientation and at the option of the priest or bishop. The sacraments of Minor and Holy Orders are only available to postulants of the Universal Gnostic Fellowship.
Membership in the Universal Gnostic Fellowship is voluntary and requires acceptance of the Doctrine of One and the completion of the Gnostic Lessons.
The Holy Orders which are conferred by the Universal Gnostic Fellowship are the Ordinate and the Episcopate. Ordination to the Ordinate is conferred upon qualified candidates regardless of age, class, race, color, religious preference, creed, gender or sexual orientation. There are three levels of Ordinate in an hierarchical order: 1) Deacon, Associate or Assistant Minister or Pastor, 2) Minister, Priest, Rabbi, Swami, Canon, Archdeacon, and 3) Archpriest, High Priest, or Dean. Feminine forms, like Priestess or Deaconess, may be used at the option of the recipient. Ordination requires the approval of one Bishop.
The duties and responsibilities of an ordained person within the Universal Gnostic Fellowship are to provide guidance, counseling and sacraments for those who seek them. Priests are both spiritual teachers and leaders who serve their constituents. Priests have no authority over the people they serve. Priests provide counseling and guidance and perform sacramental duties as part of their commitment to the people they serve. They teach that others might learn. The clergy of the Universal Gnostic Fellowship is autonomous and exercises no autocratic authority over either itself or others.
Consecration to the Episcopate requires the consent of three Bishops of the Universal Gnostic Fellowship and may be conferred upon any qualified person by one or more Bishops. The consecrated person usually adopts the title of Bishop since this is used in both the Christian and the Gnostic traditions. Other titles which may be used by members of the Episcopate include: Diocesan, Goswami, Mahaswami, Paramahansa, Exalted High Priest, Rabban, and Mar or Metropolitan.
The duties and responsibilities of the Episcopate are to serve those priests who seek their counsel or guidance whether within their Diocese or not. Additionally, Bishops may ordain qualified persons to the Ordinate, and consecrate qualified persons to the Episcopate. But, first and foremost, they continue to perform the duties of a priest. Bishops have no authority over those priests committed to their charge or over each other.
As the primary duty of the priest is service to others, so is the primary duty of bishops service to others including priests and other bishops. Bishops are autonomous and exercise no autocratic authority over either laity or priests. Archbishops are administrative officers who are appointed to assist bishops and priests with their spiritual path and duties.
The clergy of the Universal Gnostic Fellowship follow many spiritual paths. We have already mentioned the Christian and Gnostic paths. There are others. Many of our priests subscribe to more than one spiritual path at the same time. Within the clergy are to be found Christian or Gnostic Priests, Pagans, Witches, Yogis, Sufis, channeler, healers, psychics, Druids, Moslems, Shamans, and just about anything else you wish to find. We are all free to search and learn and follow our own spiritual path.
Various clergy affiliated with the Universal Gnostic Fellowship have, from time to time, established teaching and/or learning centers. These centers are usually set up as sustaining and self-perpetuating nonprofit charitable organizations or corporations. They are usually not self-supporting and rely upon outside sources of income to continue their operations. This income is usually derived from some sort of fee which is charged for room and board, tuition or both. Other sources of income include voluntary gifts, contributions and donations.
Most bishops start their own churches and offer regular services or affiliate with one or more bishops to do so. Some take on a Community Church in some rural area or small community. A few rent buildings and ask for contributions to cover expenses. Most follow the early Gnostic tradition of holding services whenever and wherever asked. It is common for weddings, baptisms, and even commemorations of the Last Supper to be done in private homes with all guests being invited for the occasion. It is not uncommon for groups to move from home to home, week to week or month to month. Many priests and other clergy hold formal services once a month or once a quarter and informal teaching sessions weekly or more often. Some hold services every week.
The Universal Gnostic Fellowship is an incorporated religious institution with no paid clergy or other employees. It maintains no central office and has no ladder of power. The main form of communication with the outside world is by word of mouth. The Church has regular annual meeting of the Board but conducts no business such as making rules and regulations. Each member of the episcopate is empowered to make such rules and regulations as they deem necessary to manage his or her own church or diocese, but Bishops have no power to enforce those rules and regulations upon another without the other person's full and voluntary consent.
The Universal Gnostic Fellowship is considered to have a very loose organization and is far removed from organized religion. Individual members of the clergy know those who precede them in their lineage, but there is little need for keeping a history of all the clergy. This is not unlike the approach taken by eastern or pagan religions. Neither is there any need to evangelize and keep finding new members to improve profits and cash flow to better be able to support a large building and salaried clergy.
The Presiding Archbishop of the Universal Gnostic Fellowship is Very Reverend John Frederick Gilbert, Ph.D., D.D. The fellowship secretary is Bishop Sara.
Donations to the Universal Gnostic Fellowship are greatly appreciated and are tax deductible under IRS code 501(c)(3).
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