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Below the level of the Mahanta is the ECK clergy, who lead worship services and the ECK celebrations of life. Clergy “are ordained after many years of training and service…[and are] notable both in that [being a clergy member] is a volunteer rather than paid service and for the rich and diverse backgrounds of its members.”1
ECK clergy are notable in that they are volunteers.
The opportunity to become a member of the clergy comes after an extensive period of study and dedication to Eckankar. After an ECKist spends two years studying Eckankar, says Kathleen, “you are given a choice whether or not you want to make a commitment to the path. And at that time you can request what’s called a second initiation.” Kathleen continued to explain initiation:
"Initiation is kind of like a graduation, like graduating from junior high to high school or from high school to college and basically what it means is that you, as Soul, have more capacity for Light and Sound and more divine love and more opportunity and so you study the discourses and at certain intervals you can request the second initiation. All of the initiations after that are by invitation. You don’t necessarily know when you’re going to get them. But they typically take anywhere from five to seven years between. Once you get to a certain level of initiation, then you become eligible… to get an invitation to be a member of the Eckankar clergy."2
Eckankar, About Eckankar (Chanhassen, MN: Eckankar, 2003), 3. ↩
Interview with Eckankar Representative, May 6, 2012. ↩