This page is created to answer common questions frequently received.
SHES SUPPORT: At this time, SHES is totally supported by gifts and donations. Our funds are so short that we can no longer afford to send out a newsletter. We hope to keep in touch over the NET. We have a tradition of donations at the time ministers are ordained and certified spiritual healers and diplomats of earth stewardship are appointed. There is also a tradition of donations from those who wich to receive a copy of the ministers handbook that costs us about $8.00 just to reproduce and mail. Some may want to also donate when they register their congregation. As certificates are issued to all the trusted servants and are available for the congregations, and as all of these matters are recorded on the data base and in file folders, each of these activities is an expense. The WEB site and e-mail are expenses. If we are to have larger meetings and make the organization more accessible, this will involve further expense. So we are always happy to receive donations. We ask that those being ordained or appointed certified spiritual healers or diplomats of earth stewardship consider making a minimum donation of $10.00 for each certificate requested, and the same request is made of congregations wanting a certificate acknowledging it as a current member of the SHES assembly, and for any request for a minister’s hand book. We ask all interested persons to consider some contribution on an annual or more frequent basis to help us defray the costs of making this religious community available.
SHES was not formed to be a tax haven. Anyone who is seeking to obtain good tax advice concerning non profit institutions should consult a good CPA, Lawyer or registered Tax representative who regularly deals with both the state and federal or national tax consequences of income and gifts to non-profit organizations. While the International Assembly of Spiritual Healers & Earth Stewards Congregations is recognized by the U.S. IRS as a 501c(3) status non profit institution (tax letter February 2, 1990) it does not form or provide any tax umbrella for any church members or any ministers, spiritual healers or earth stewards ordained or appointed by the assembly. SHES is not involved with nor does it support any programs or policies of tax avoidance of any lawful taxes. Following the traditions of a number of religions, SHES might remind those interested, as the Christians do, render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.
We are not a mail order ministry and we do not license ministers. In the United States, both the states and the federal government are forbidden to license ministers because of the constitutional provisions separating church from state. Other countries may require some sort of registration or licenses. However, even in the United States, where the civil authority has laws that recognize relationships, such as marriages, anyone who performs a marriage that can be binding under those laws must also comply with the requirements of that civil authority. Therefore, before one conducts a marriage, it is important to consult with the civil authority that issues marriage licenses to see what is required to perform the marriage. In some jurisdictions, a form of registration is required. It is up to each minister to determine if she or he is performing that service in compliance with local law.
SHES does not issue “minister’s licenses.” Nor does SHES register new minister’s names with any state or national authority. SHES is a religious organization totally separate from any civil government. SHES provides a system whereby persons nominated by a member congregation can be ordained as ministers and/or appointed as Certified Spiritual Healers or Diplomats of Earth Stewardship.
We are often asked about spiritual healing and health laws. In the United States this is a delicate area. At one time we could have felt assured that our healers and ministers were protected by the first amendment to the United States Constitution’s first amendment that restrains the government from passing any laws that prohibit “the free exercise” of religion. So long as our ministers and Certified Spiritual Healers were practicing their spiritual beliefs in their healing works in accordance with our basic principles of not placing those who seek our help in harms way they should have been protected by that restriction on the government’s authority. However, the United States Supreme Court has greatly reduced the protections of the right of actual religious practice and it has even prohibits Congress from passing laws protecting those rights, where those rights conflict with any ‘religiously neutral law.’ So those who now want to restrict religious practices are invited by that court to couch their attempts to exercise governmental authority to restrict the free exercise of religious practices in “religiously neutral” language.
While healing has often been part of the tradition of many religions in the world, in many states civil authorities have sought to regulate the most minute aspects of the healing professions under the guise of protecting the public’s health and welfare. So it is questionable whether the United State’s Supreme Court might ever protect the right of any religion to exercise any healing practices or work if it might conceivably violate any health law because that court might consider all health laws religiously neutral.
The question we are continually faced with is would hands on healing, even in the tradition of Christ and his disciples, now violate the law or be governed by such laws as the local massage license laws? What are we to make of special dietary laws that any of our individual congregations, like other religions or sects, could adopt? We cannot give any positive answer. Some states still enforce, under their state constitutions, religious liberties that would protect these religious healing practices. We would hope that all religions would come together to fight for these principles should any State authority seeks to attack them. But we don’t know the answer. It is very frustrating. Like Congress, we consider the U. S. Supreme Court’s retreat from religious liberty a severe threat to the basic freedoms of the United States and indeed of the world. Unfortunately, we have no war chest to wage any war for these rights.