As my profile states, my husband and I are both ordained ministers of the Alliance of Divine Love. Together, we strive to bring peace and understanding to society through interfaith and spiritual work.
More and more, I find people asking me about the Alliance of Divine Love, what it is, what it isn’t, what it “means” and why it exists. While the Alliance of Divine Love means many different things to different people, there is a core belief in the power of Divine Love – that the “entirety of Creation is linked through Divine Love’s relationship or alliance with Itself…” and that “Love forever seeks greater degrees of Itself within Itself…” – that Love is the guiding nature of the universe.
My personal journey is one of exploration amid conflicting theologies, with a background predisposed toward interfaith expression. Born into a Christian family composed of various Christian sects, I would listen to my grandparents debating the differences between icons and statues and the position of Mary in the eyes of the faithful and wonder why they couldn’t agree on their shared Christian beliefs, instead of looking for the sometimes-cosmetic differences. Perhaps that early experience pre-destined me for an interfaith approach to religion.
And, so, this blog post describes my personal relationship with Love, through my affiliation with the Alliance of Divine Love. (In a later post, I will describe my personal theology; this post describes my journey through the ADL ministry.) There are today hundreds of ADL ministers and there have been many who have passed before now…and every one of them had their own interpretation, their own path through ADL, into Divine Love and into Forever.
The Alliance of Divine Love is a bit different from “mainline” religious communities (even those of New Thought faiths) because we are an association of ministers – an alliance of those who are drawn to service in the name of Divine Love.
The core ADL belief – the only “dogma” as such – is a belief in the power of Divine Love and a corresponding direction to treat every individual and every situation with the Greatest Degree of Love for all concerned and to live our lives in the Greatest Degree of Love. No other dogmatic beliefs are required and ADL encompasses all specific faiths.
The vow that every ADL minister takes upon ordination contains this core statement:“I pledge myself to Love, to be Love’s channel…” – although only part of the Oath, these words form the heart of the dedication of an ADL minister.
Alliance of Divine Love teachings are presented in three parts: the first part is an opening to spiritual awareness; the second part is designed to develop and deepen that spiritual awareness; and the third part, for those who so choose, is to learn about and seek ordination in the ADL ministry, in order to serve, i.e., to help others reach spiritual awareness and development.
Essentially (with, I think, most ADL ministers), I believe that spiritual awareness is within each person and that each individual has the ability to have a personal, direct relationship with the Divine, however that concept is defined for them. ADL ministers are committed to helping each individual find that awareness within themselves. An ADL minister helps individuals to be open to the Divine presence and the power of Love, but does not direct that relationship.
Rather than a “preaching” ministry, I see ADL as a “teaching” ministry, more of an individually-driven ministry than a congregational affiliation. It is that teaching aspect that first drew me to it. Some ministers do form congregations, some form centers for learning/meditation, and some work individually as teachers and healers. I find that my personal path has been to help people come together in community, primarily through interfaith and multicultural work, and to help build bridges of understanding between people of different groups.
Perhaps, one might say, my personal ministry is not “teaching” so much as it is “reaching” – reaching out to others and helping them to reach out, in turn…to empower each individual to be aware of and open to a direct relationship with the Divine in their individual lives.