Circle Sanctuary, also known as Circle, was founded in 1974 with the purpose of helping people from many spiritual orientations to connect with each other as well as with the spiritual dimensions of Nature. Our ministers are dedicated to serving peoples of many Nature Religion paths through the creation and sharing of rituals, meditations, music, images, and other spiritual art forms. Our ministers promote dialog, cooperation and mutually beneficial networking among individuals, groups, and organizations. Living and connecting in mainstream society, Circle Sanctuary ministers promote understanding and tolerance through public education, interfaith networking, and public relations media work.
As an endorsing organization for Wiccan and Pagan ministers, our ministers are legally recognized to perform religious services, chaplaincy support, and related work in hospitals, hospice, state and federal prisons, college and university campuses, and US military installations. Circle Sanctuary Ministers provide a variety of spiritual services as part of their work including counseling, healing, and conducting weddings, child blessings, funerals, house blessings, and other rites of passages. Successful completion of the Circle Sanctuary Ministry Training Program is a requirement for ordination from our organization.
The Circle Sanctuary Ministry Training Program is a guided spiritual journey culminating with ordination. Students are mentored throughout their journey learning essential ministerial skills such as: pastoral counseling, leading small and large group ritual, connecting with community, developing an ethical code of conduct, ability to work across traditions, basic education in the tenants of major religions, group problem solving, media interface, interfacing in public institutions, and much more. All students participate in a minimum of a one year practicum that is individually designed to interface the ministerial focus of the student with the overall vision of Circle Sanctuary. The ultimate goal of the Circle Sanctuary Ministry Training Program is to prepare students to carry out the Mission of the church through their Ministry.
Circle Ministers commit to serving the Pagan community. With ordination comes a commitment to assume a leadership role within our community and to provide spiritual guidance and support to community members. Anyone interested in applying for the Circle Sanctuary Ministry Training Program should have a strong foundation in their personal spiritual path as well as a strong affiliation with Circle Sanctuary. Circle Sanctuary Ministers become part of the Circle Sanctuary community, and are expected to contribute financially to support Circle Sanctuary's ongoing operations.
- be at least 21 years of age
- have been following a Pagan path for a minimum of three years
- have attended Pagan Spirit Gathering (PSG) and/or another Circle Sanctuary sponsored event, and
- have at least an Associates Degree from an accredited institution or equivalent professional credential, with a Bachelors Degree from an accredited institution preferred
Program of Study:
Focused and guided instruction in the Circle Sanctuary Ministry Training Program aims to prepare individuals for ministry within the stated purposes of the church: religious freedom, networking, research, spiritual healing, community celebrations, multicultural cooperation, and education. The program includes required reading and writing, participation in leadership workshops and group instruction, completion of on-line coursework, organizing and conducting public ritual, a ministerial practicum of at least one year, and the writing of a spiritual dossier. Additionally, all students are expected to attend the week-long Pagan Spirit Gathering at least once during the course of studies as part of practicum training as well as attend the yearly Samhain Festival at Circle Sanctuary's headquarters, and become a Circle Sanctuary Member.
Each candidate admitted will be considered a Minister in Training. After successfully completing the first phase of the training program, students will be assigned a mentor. Mentors are ordained Ministers who guide candidates in meeting the requirements for ordination.
How do I get started?
Step 1: Write a one-page or more "Spiritual Biography" starting from childhood and ending in the present.
Step 2: Write a one-page or more "Statement of Purpose" that includes why you have chosen Circle Sanctuary and how ordination will help you in your spiritual work. This is a key part of the application, telling the selection committee who you are, what has influenced your career path so far, your professional interests in ministry and your vision of where you plan to go from here.
Step 3: Write a two-page or more "Statement of Ministerial Philosophy". In this essay, address the following:
- What is a minister and what is his or her role society?
- What do you see as the essential personal skills, knowledge, and qualities of a minister?
- Compare yourself to these essential skills, knowledge, and qualities. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- How will the Circle Sanctuary Ministry Training Program help to build the personal skills, knowledge, and qualities essential for ordination?
Step 4: Complete the application form.
Step 5: Secure two letters of recommendation from individuals who know of your work in Paganism; teacher, colleague, friend, etc. These individuals should then fill out our Application Form at https://www.circlesanctuary.org/ministry/recommendation, uploading their Recommendation Letters as part of the process.
Please email the Circle Office. We thank you for your interest!