Universal Life Church History


Reverend Kirby Hensley grew up in a Christian home in North Carolina. In his lifetime he neither learned to read nor write, yet he still had a strong desire to learn and was a student of life. He began the Universal Life Church in 1959 with the idea that all people should be accepted regardless of their faith. The people who opposed him found out that although he was illiterate, he was more clever and tenacious than they had presumed, and he was a natural good judge of character.

By 1977 the ULC revivalist movement had exploded and a separate organization – the Universal Life Church Monastery – was founded by Br. Martin to accommodate the personal needs of the homeless, marginalized and disenfranchised individuals, New Age seekers and newly ordained ministers through monastic training.

Hensley fought in the courts for the universal right to life and preached throughout the United States for sixty-five years, dying in 1999 after seeing his message reach the entire world through the Internet.

Br. Daniel Zimmerman, former ULC Chaplain, and the Monastery staff continued the fight for religious liberty even to the point that only his motivation and the grace of God relieved his ailing personal health and postponed his retirement. In August of 2006 Br. Daniel received wisdom to recognize that the Universal Life Church had become the nationally-recognized vanguard of religious rights’ preservation, and that his part in ULC history was complete. Headquarters for the Universal Life Church Monastery in Seattle legally ordains more ministers than any other church in the world. The sun never sets on the Universal Life Church.

We champion the underdogs and the oppressed just as the legacy of Christ, King, Kennedy, Mother Theresa and Gandhi taught. There are no other international churches with the proven history of devotion to ministers for the sake of their own ministries such as this.  We do not require our ordained ministers or ULC congregants to bow before us or kiss our rings, because we believe that we are all equal universally. We meet the needs of our ministers and bless their calling, whether they intend to change the world or to simply officiate a wedding for a loved one in their new found capacity as a legally ordained minister of the Universal Life Church Monastery.