Ministry Licensing Program

What We Offer

  •  A high quality service-learning program supporting and guiding individuals toward inclusive interfaith ministry
  •  Curriculum encompassing a full-spectrum approach: spiral, integral, all-quadrants, all-levels and all-lines of development
  •  An outcome driven program designed to accommodate each student's unique time and location restraint
  •  A global perspective that translates into action on behalf of the whole and all its parts



· Ministerial Credentials from Unity, Science of Mind or other recognized denominations(subject to approval)

· Applying for and being granted admission to Common Ground’s licensing program in no way guarantees issuance of a  ministerial license.  The founding ministers, board, and Ministerial Licensing Team have complete discernment in this area.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What if I don’t have ministerial credentials?

A: We will accept your application to our program and recommend concurrent enrollment in Emerson Theological Institute’s Practical Spirituality Interfaith Minister Credential Program, which offers a Certificate of Completion recognized by Common Ground.


Q: What is the relationship between Emerson Theological  Institute and Common Ground?

A: Common Ground is a recognized Affiliate of Emerson Theological Institute.


Q: Do I have to be affiliated with Common Ground?

A: Yes.  Common Ground’s vision and mission are specific. Affiliation with  Common Ground provides a learning environment in which we aim to help you assimilate the basic community culture, objectives, and principles into consciousness and cultivate the capacity to express those qualities in your own life.          Affiliation with Common Ground is a prerequisite for licensing and ordination.


Q: How long does it take to complete requirements for the ministry credential program?

A: The format of the program is designed to reflect an Independent Education Plan in which students progress at an individual rate.  The length of time it takes to complete the program depends on how much time and effort you put into it. Typically, students complete requirements within a 2 to 4 year period depending on circumstances.


Q: What is the instruction modality of the program?

A: The educational plan is outcome driven and includes the concept of the school without walls, on-the-job training, home-study projects, use of the Internet, e-mail communication, traditional classroom activities and direct experience. The internship provides personal, one-on-one interaction with the ministers.


Q: How can I meet requirements for Course Work?

A: Common Ground offers self-study curriculum modules for most of the core Course Work required by  Emerson.  Common Ground evaluates the work for standards of excellence and verifies satisfactory completion.


Q: What about internship?

A: Every applicant, regardless of ministerial credentials, is required to complete, at minimum, an eighteen (18) month internship at Common Ground under the mentorship of Reverend Judy DePrete and Reverend Glenda Knox


Q: Are there examinations?

A: Yes.  Common Ground will administer both a written and an oral exam on behalf of Emerson.  The     exams will be forwarded to Emerson for evaluation.  


Q: What about licensing?

A: Once all prerequisites, Course Work and Internship are complete, you will submit an application to Common Ground for licensing.  Upon approval, a formal licensing ceremony may take place.


Q: Is the license valid forever?

A: No.  The license must be renewed with Common Ground each year until ordination, after which the license must be renewed every 2 years.  Renewal is discretionary.


Q: What’s the difference between licensing and ordination?

A: Licensing  is a prerequisite to ordination.  You may apply for ordination after a minimum of two years of service in ministry.  Upon approval, a formal ordination ceremony may take place.


Q: Can I be a member of another  spiritual community and still be a  licensed Common Ground minister ?

A: Yes. However, ongoing service, active participation and presence within the Common Ground community and support of Common Ground’s vision and mission must be demonstrated on a consistent basis to continue eligibility for licensing. 


Q: What happens once I have completed the Ministry Licensing Program and receive my ministry      license?

A: Upon approval and subject to requirements and governing documents of Common Ground, you may start your own Common Ground satellite center. When positions are available, you may interview to serve as a minister at an existing center.  When appropriate, you may do seminars, teach relevant classes or work in such areas as grief support, prison chaplain, outreach, or other fields for which you have a passion.


Q: Are there any specific  standards for the Ministry Licensing Program?

A: Yes.  Licensed ministers and  ministerial candidates are asked to adhere to the Ministerial Code of Ethics of  Common Ground.  The role of minister pre-supposes certain expectations and carries with it authority and power.  Therefore, keeping ethics above reproach and exercising good judgment in      regard to personal and public conduct is necessary.


Q: What if I need to take time off for self-care?

A: After licensing, a Common Ground minister may apply for sabbatical leave for the purpose of self-care, study, travel, etc.  Under certain circumstances, Common Ground may ask a minister to take a sabbatical leave to rest and contemplate.  Such sabbatical may last from two months to a year.  During sabbatical leave, Common Ground ministerial duties shall be considered dormant, however, the license remains active until the next regular renewal. License renewal is at the discretion of Common Ground.


· Application Fee: $50

· Internship: $250

· Licensing: $100

· Ordination: $200

· License Renewal: $50

· Self-study curriculum  modules are currently available at a cost of $30 per Semester Unit