Executive Order of the Chief Prelate authorizing immediate Ordination of all Certified Clergy due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
August 3, 2020
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.
As you know, earlier this year The Thelemic Order issued letters certifying Clergy. At the time the letters were issued the intention was to begin Ordinations in May; clergy who could not attend the Baltimore event would receive Ordination as quickly as possible thereafter.
At the time the scope of the COVID-19 Pandemic was not clear, so this seemed a reasonable course of action. Given the present status of infections around the United States, it’s clear that meeting in person will not happen for some months to come.
Ordination has at least three meanings in relationship to TTO.
First, there is the meaning of Ordination under U.S. Civil Law and under International Law. Many states set different procedures and rates for the recognition of Clergy in Churches which do not Ordain. The process for Certified or other Clergy may be more cumbersome, or difficult, or even involve the payment of different or higher rates.
TTO is a Church under U.S. Law. While we have filed for, and are awaiting a final letter confirming 501(c)(3) status from the IRS, this is neither required nor mandated to be considered, legally, a church. One of the core missions of TTO is to provide well trained Clergy who are empowered to perform all sacraments. A Priesthood enjoined from performing functions such as marriage — functions which are readily performed by any Protestant Clergy — is toothless, and only exacerbates the perception that Thelemic, and more broadly pagan, Clergy is not “real.”
Secondly, Ordination conveys the spiritual authority of The Thelemic Order. In many ways this is a recognition rather than a process of conferring anything. The Thelemic Order does not depend on any specific line of spiritual authority, relying at its core on that same principle of personal gnosis and individual revelation invoked by Jules Doinel in his 1890 foundation of the modern Gnostic church.
Thirdly, Ordination conveys those lines of spiritual authority which may come from various sources and be conveyed through the persons of the various senior Clergy of EGH. While these are not, in view of the Understandings, necessary for the effectual performance of the sacraments, they convey a rich and powerful tradition as well as sacerdotal lines which may speak to individual experience and revelation.
It had been our intention to wait until TTO was able to convey all of these in a single act of Ordination. Unfortunately the restrictions on travel brought about by the historic COVID-19 pandemic has made “in person” Ordination impractical (indeed, possibly dangerous), probably until some months into 2021. This combined with the planning necessary to arrange travel and events means that we continue to operate in a liminal state which was intended only to last for a few months, precisely at a time when there is the most need for ministry and the comfort and presence of Clergy.
The long delay creates a hardship on Clergy which was never intended, and which serves no real function. What was a simple matter of coordinating a “launch” for our Clergy has become instead a stumbling block.
For that reason I am using my authority as Chief Prelate of The Thelemic Order to order the immediate issue of Certificates of Ordination to all eligible Clergy at this time. We will be issuing the physical certificates over the next two weeks to the address listed in your clergy application. In practice this confers the first two elements of Ordination, with the third, to the extent it may be desirable to a given individual, to be conferred as we are able to meet in person in 2021.
If you have any change of address, or the name you want to appear on your ordination, please let me know — preferably via email. Letters will be issued to the names on record, or if you have requested letters in your legal name then they will carry your legal name.
If you require a certified letter for any purpose, including licensure to perform wedding ceremonies, please contact me and I will do my best to provide it as quickly as possible. Email is generally the best mode of contact, as it provides documentation that I can track.
I am grateful to each and every one of you for being part of a new, progressive and accepting Thelemic movement.
Love is the law, love under will.
Sr. Persephone/Stephanie Olmstead-Dean
Chief Prelate, Ecclesia Gnostica Heterodoxa