The Church of Higher Universalism – Draft Constitution

The Church of Higher Universalism – Draft Constitution

Preamble:

The Church of Higher Universalism is an international, non-denominational, inter-denominational, inter-faith,  non dogmatic, non discriminatory organisation that focuses on ministering to those who have Spiritual needs that are not met by mainstream religion. It attempts to facilitate Spiritual growth in its members and those who it ministers to in a gentle non-intrusive manner. It’s major presence is virtual, utilizing social media and technology to deliver its message. In cities where it has an ordained Minister, it will have a physical presence and physical activities as needed by that community.

Founding Principles:

1. The Universe is in order

2. God is not definable a. Neither male nor female b. Not an image of a human c. Not an emotion (like love) d. Not a personality

3. No one or no one religion has all the truth

4. Not even the sum total of all religion equals the whole truth

5. The Universe is constantly growing

6. (Therefore) God is constantly growing

7. Civilization is constantly progressing 8. Science and progress are constantly discovering and revealing new truths

9. Change is constant and inevitable

10. The meaning of life is: a. Growth i. Personal development ii. Soul unfoldment iii. Self actualisation

11. This growth is constant and eternal

12. We are like God in that we are constantly growing and ever creating

13. All human beings will face the full gambit of earthly experiences and emotions as part of their Soul Unfoldment and journey to enlightenment.

14. The human condition is normal, the earth is a wonderful testing ground and God has not erred in any way

15. The Universe owes us nothing

16. And belief that life should be easy and our lives should just flow and that God will look after us more than anyone else because of our belief system is erroneous

17. The Universe is perfectly balanced and ensures perfect balance

18. There is no event, situation, person, circumstance or trait that is 100% good or 100% bad a. Every cloud has a silver lining b. Every blessing has a balancing curse

19. No race is necessarily superiority to another

20. No gender is necessarily superior to another

21. No sexual preference is necessarily superior to another

22. No continent, country or city is necessarily superior to another

23. No political system is necessarily superior to another

24. The general practice of universalism a. All religion leads to the same God b. All religions have their place for as long as they serve their members c. All religions have a basic thread of truth d. Religious tolerance

25. The general practice of Higher Universalism a. If there are 7 billion people on earth then there are i. 7 billion authentic religions ii. 7 billion ways back to God iii. 7 billion skin colours iv. 7 billion sexual preferences v. 7 billion 100% unique individuals b. That the error of religion has been to attempt to force humanity into a set of beliefs and principles instead of allowing people to become who they are.

26. (an in principle) Freedom of: a. Religion b. Speech c. Association d. Expression e. Choice f. Congregation g. The right to be wrong h. The right to disagree

27. Heaven and Hell are states of consciousness (as opposed to actual places)

28. The basic precept of reincarnation a. The soul is ancient b. We are a soul having a temporary physical experience c. We create our own future based on our choices

29. The concept of the Egyptian Sun God Rah – shining IT’S light on saint and sinner alike

30. The internal battle of good and evil is reflected externally in the world

Mission and vision:

1. To facilitate personal and spiritual growth of members, associates, friends and the general public via: a. Social Media posts and updates b. Blogging c. Email updates and newsletters d. Key note talks e. One on one courses f. Counselling g. Officiating at Weddings h. Officiating at Funerals i. Officiating at Naming Ceremonies j. Maintaining an informative and inspiring website

2. To Minister to and offer Spiritual Services to the large and growing, “Believer but not Churchgoing” market segment

3. To Minister to and offer Spiritual Services to inter-faith couples and families.

4. To Minister to and offer Spiritual Services to those who consider themselves to be: a. Athiest b. Agnostic c. Pagan d. Wiccan e. Spiritual as opposed to Religious f. Any other non defined group or organisation

Revered concepts:

1. Universalism, the message of Spiritualism and Spiritism, the teachings of Higher Spiritualism as taught by the Aquarian Foundation of Seattle and much (but not all) of the wisdom of the “New Age”.

2. The Theosophical Premise that there is no religion greater than truth.

3. The Theosophical Premise of realizing your unity with the whole of humanity.

4. The Theosophical Premise of working ceaselessly for others.

5. Scott Peck’s definition of Love, “One’s willingness to expend energy for another’s Spiritual Growth”.

6. Dr. Demartini’s assertion that, “True love and growth occur at the cusp of challenge and support”.

7. The Aquarian precept that, “Truth is a many faceted gemstone, all of which must be seen at the same time”.

Financial:

1. Not for profit

2. Maintained and supported financially by the founder until it grows big enough to warrant a board of directors and/or major donors.

Founder:

Reverend Stephen van Basten

Elder:

Reverend Stephen van Basten

Secretary:

Reverend Jacqueline van Basten Church address: 304 Enford Road Mondeor, 2091

Duties of the Elder:

To run the affairs of the Church according to its mission and vision

To make decisions as to the running of the Church To receive and consider petitions, suggestions and complaints from members

To apply to Home Affairs to become a Marriage Officer

Duties of the secretary:

To assist the elder as well as tend to the administrative needs of the Church

Duties of the members:

To apply to become a member via a membership format or electronic acceptance via social media

To accept the Founding Principles, Mission and Vision

To furnish the Church with Name, Surname, Home or Postal address and email address.

Rights of the members:

To revoke their membership at any time.

To petition the Elder at any time (within reason)

To make suggestions

To disagree (in a polite and loving manner)

To offer constructive criticism

To interact with the Church on its Social Media platform

Rights of the Church
To promote its message

To advertise its services

To share religious, spiritual, inspirational and/or thought provoking posts

To email newsletters

To call members from time to time

To refuse membership to those who reject the principles of the Church

To revoke membership of those who act outside of the principles of the Church

Structure:

This is a hierarchical Church and specifically not a congregational Church.

Until a board is chosen and the constitution amended, the Founder shall be the Elder.

A board may be chosen at the sole discretion of the Elder.

In the event of the passing of the Elder, the secretary shall become Elder and decide on the future of the Church.

The Elder may ordain other Ministers into the Church at his discretion

The Elder may apply to Home Affairs for its Ministers to become Marriage Officers at his discretion

About the Founder:

Stephen van Basten was born in 1964 into a Catholic family.

Was baptized, attended Mass weekly, completed First Holy Communion, was Confirmed and completed his first Confession.

Stephen led a youth group at boarding school and enjoyed a charismatic ‘reborn’ period.

In 1989 Stephen and his then girlfriend Jacqui were introduced to a Universalist Spiritualist Church called Aquarian Foundation. They became members in 1990 and have maintained their membership ever since. Jacqui and Stephen moved to Cape Town to start a Study Group of Aquarian Foundation in 1994 and returned to Johannesburg in 2002 where they are considered as Elders in the Johannesburg group. The Cape Town study group is still running. Stephen has been an ordained Minister in the Universal Life Church since 1994. He considers himself to be a Student, Philosopher, Teacher, Minister and Counselor.

Notes:

1. I have specifically used the term Elder rather then Spiritual Leader in an attempt to make it less glamorous

2. When one holds a belief of freedom of religion, one accepts that there will be those who practice religions that one may not personally be at peace with

3. When one holds a belief of freedom of speech, one accepts that there will be those who express concepts that one may personally not agree with

4. When one holds a belief of freedom of congregation, one accepts that there will be groups that congregate that may hold and advance beliefs that one may personally not be at peace with

5. I have specifically included the concept of progress in the Founding Principles so as to avoid the concept of “The infallibility of the Pope” and not been able to change in light of new evidence and progress.

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About Stephen van Basten - The Marriage Expert

When you meet Stephen van Basten you instantly realize that there is more to him than meets the eye. This is not a moment to judge a book by its cover. Stephen boasts a list of achievements: He met his wife, Jacqui, 27 years ago, married her 21 years ago and is the proud father of a 'very together' 18 year old daughter. Stephen will immediately tell you with a twinkle in his eye, that Life, Work, Marriage and Parenthood are not for sissies. That while they are all hard work, they can be, and should be, incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. Stephen is a past Karate World Champion, a yoga enthusiast and recovering golfer. If you opened Trip Advisor on his facebook page you will see that he has visited 81 cities in 52 countries including the USA, Alaska, Japan, Europe, Australia and China. Stephen has owned his own company, worked in his family's business, being employed by small and large businesses like Shell SA and the BTG Group. His titles include Brand Manager, Sales Manager, Account Manager, Sales Representative and Business Owner. He now sees himself as an Author, Speaker, Trainer and Coach. Stephen published his first book, "So you're engaged, now what? The journey from engaged to married" in December 2013. His ingenious marketing strategy put this book into over 2000 hands in its first 6 months. His second book "So you're alive, now what? The journey from birth to death" is available online and he is working on 5 more books in the series including "So you're married, now what?". Stephen's obvious passion and first love is Human Behavior and specifically Human Behavior as it manifests in RELATIONSHIPS. He is quick to point out that we have many differing relationships: employer, employees, customers, suppliers, colleagues, friendships, marriage, parents, siblings, children, our maker, other drivers on the roads and we generally have issues in most if not all of them. Stephen is a student of the well-known human behavior specialist, Dr. John Demartini and is constantly researching and honing his understanding of this incredibly complex subject. In 2013 he completed over 175 hours of intense training on T. Harv Eker's signature courses.
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